As President Trump tried to suggest that he had accomplished more for the Black community than any past presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, even a Fox News host felt the need to check him and remind the president that Lincoln freed the slaves.
During an interview that aired on Friday, Harris Faulkner, a Black Fox News host, asked Trump an open-ended question — always a risky and adventurous move — about how past legislation he has supported or signed, like opportunity zones and criminal justice reform, might help him with the ongoing protests.
Trump immediately started to heap praise upon himself and spoke in terms of his own greatness while trying to minimize Lincoln, saying the 16th president’s accomplishments are “always questionable.”
Trump said, “So, I think I’ve done more for the Black community than any other president. And, let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln because he did good, although, it’s always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result.”
Faulkner interrupted, “Well, we are free, Mr. President. So, he did pretty well.”
Trump, who often defends the confederacy and recently bristled at the push to rename Army bases that are named after confederate officers, seems to be using dog-whistle language in this interview to appeal to his racist followers. Labeling the achievements of one of America’s most celebrated presidents as “always questionable” while also negatively referring to “the end result” is mend-bending. Lincoln’s “end result” was saving the Union by ending the Civil War and making slavery unlawful. It’s hard to argue with those results, unless you’re a racist.
As for Trump, who is attempting to position himself above one of the greats, he currently ranks as one of the most unpopular presidents in our history. And he was impeached. So, it seems that it is Trump’s self-assessment that is questionable, not Lincoln’s legacy. As for Trump, while the country mourns the more than 110,000 who died from coronavirus and protests continue in honor of Black people killed by police, it appears his legacy will be tarnished at best.
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