Today marks the start of Black History Month, the now 41-year-old observance of the contributions of black Americans to this country. Last year around this time, former President Barack Obama reflected upon the many sacrifices that had been made on the path to equality, but reminded all Americans of all the work that’s still left to be done. The 44th President probably thought his statements would reverberate beyond 2016, and he was right, though for the wrong reasons.
Today President Donald Trump gave the customary speech, but it sounded like something he’d scribbled on a cocktail napkin during a lunch with Steve Bannon. Deadspin’s Concourse transcribed Trump’s statement, which began with the customary stroking of his ego. The meandering oration also saw the President name all the black people he knows or knows of, like Housing Secretary Ben Carson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You might have heard of the latter, a slain civil rights leader whose story entered the public consciousness, Trump believes, following an inaccurate report about the removal of his bust from the Oval Office.
If you’re unfamiliar with Dr. King, don’t worry about it, because Trump knows some other heroic African-Americans. There’s Omarosa Manigault, the one-time Apprentice wannabe who campaigned for him. The President went on about what a “nice person” she is, even though he worried that the revelation that she wasn’t a ruthless (or successful) businessperson after all might “destroy her reputation.” That was the extent of his rumination on black history, though Trump might later tweet out what he and Sean Spicer learned about this guy, Frederick Douglass.