Trump Thinks Frederick Douglass Is Still Alive And Twitter's Having A Field Day

by Alexandra Svokos

February 1 marks the start of Black History Month. This is the first Black History Month formally celebrated with Donald Trump as president.

And, yeah, it's going about as well as expected so far.

Wednesday began with a "listening session" at the White House, with guests like Trump's two black friends, Ben Carson and Omarosa Manigault.

During the event, Trump gave some... remarks, I guess you'd call them?

In these remarks, Trump honored Martin Luther King Jr.... by talking about the media mistakenly reporting that Trump had removed his bust from the Oval Office.

(For the record, the reporter who said that quickly corrected his report and apologized. His apology was accepted by Press Secretary Sean Spicer.)

Trump spent a significant amount of his Black History Month remarks complaining about "fake news."

The president did make an attempt to mention great figures in black history.

This included Frederick Douglass, the 19th century abolitionist.

Except that based on how Trump spoke, it sounded like he has absolutely no idea who Douglass was, and actually believes Douglass is still alive. He said,

Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more, I notice.

Please note the present tenses in "who has," "that is" and "I notice."

A whole lot of folks on Twitter sure seemed to notice Trump's use of the present tense on Douglass.


Some were almost comforted by this revelation that Trump may think Douglass is a living person.


Some were inspired to write some neat fan fiction.


And others had some fun prank ideas somebody should probably pursue.


Even the New York Times had to get in on the trolling.


Press Secretary Spicer was asked about Trump's comments on Douglass on Wednesday afternoon.

In case you wanted one prime example of why it's important to have diversity on your team, just check out Spicer's answer in the video.

A reporter asked him to explain exactly what Trump meant by saying Douglass was being recognized more and more.

Spicer responded,

I think he wants to highlight the contributions that he has made, and I think through a lot of the actions and statements that he's going to make, I think the contributions of Frederick Douglass will become more and more.

So, uh... kind of seems like Spicer doesn't know who Douglass is -- or that he's been dead for over 100 years -- either.

Even if Trump did just make a grammar mistake when speaking about Douglass, it wasn't exactly the most inspiring Black History Month speech from a president.

I mean, Trump's list of historical figures and their achievements reads like a second grader in a heavily white town.

He's going to have to try harder if he really wants to be a president for all Americans.

Luckily for Trump, there's a whole month ahead filled with programming around black history. Maybe he can learn something.

Citations: Trump Convenes Black History Month 'Listening Session' With People Who Like Him (Huffington Post), Trump rehashes MLK bust report at Black History Month event (The Hill), Frederick Douglass (PBS)