President Trump praised the civil rights leader's "immortal words" in a video statement released by the White House on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But in reality, President Trump spent MLK Day golfing at his Florida club. After going on an early morning Twitter rant about Democrats' unwillingness to cooperate on a DACA deal, he retweeted the White House MLK Day video from the golf course.
The Washington Post reports that Trump arrived at the golf course around 11 a.m. after spending the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate. It's not clear if he did more than golf, as his public schedule for Monday was empty. Monday marks Trump's 94th day in office spent at one of his golf course properties and his 49th day at Mar-a-Lago specifically. Ironically enough, Trump signed a proclamation honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Friday, encouraging Americans to commemorate his legacy "with acts of civic work and community service" before heading for Florida.
In the White House video Trump shared, Trump claimed Dr. King's dream is also the American dream. "It is the dream of a world where people are judged by who they are, not how they look or where they come from," he said.
However, the president's statement came off as disingenuous following the past week's events. Trump defended a comment he reportedly made during an Oval Office meeting on Thursday calling Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations "sh*thole countries" by telling reporters he's "the least racist person." Epitomizing the sentiments of many critics, New York Times contributor Wajahat Ali tweeted on Monday, "I've never heard a non racist person ever say 'I'm the least racist person ever.'"
Before retweeting the video statement Monday, Trump called out Democrats for refusing to make a deal on DACA, the program that allows undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children to stay legally. "They don’t want security at the border, they don’t want to stop drugs, they want to take money away from our military which we cannot do," he quoted from a statement he made last Friday. The president's campaign was centered on combatting illegal immigration, and he's upheld his vow to work toward securing the border since taking office. In September, he ordered the end of DACA, asking Congress to pass replacement legislation.
Tweeting about the immigrant protection program he nixed just before sharing a video celebrating the life of Dr. King created a clear paradox.
Similarly, the image of Trump golfing on a day he encouraged others to do community service dripped with hypocrisy.
While speaking with Trump on Friday at the signing of the MLK Day proclamation, Dr. King's nephew Isaac Newton Farris Jr. said the holiday is "not a day to hang out in the park or pull out the barbecue grill." He added: "It’s a day to do something to help someone else, and that can be as simple as delivering someone’s trash or picking up the newspaper for that elderly person who can’t get to the end of the driveway."
Despite Farris' words, Trump spent Monday morning in a park of sorts.
Others in the administration honored MLK Day more publicly, including Vice President Mike Pence. The Veep tweeted photos of himself laying a wreath at an MLK memorial in West Potomac Park in Washington D.C. His holiday wasn't without controversy, though, as comedian Samantha Bee reminded her Twitter followers that Pence "walked out of an event in disgust because of a non-violent protest by black athletes" in October.
Although the Trump administration did publicly address the holiday celebrating Dr. King's legacy fighting for the rights of black people in America, the president's day wasn't spent giving back as he recommended others do. Rather, he worked his way closer to 100 days at a golf course in the past year.