February is Black History Month, but with President Donald Trump's administration’s, um, interesting record on racial issues, it was bound to be something of a delicate issue to address. Nevertheless, the first daughter, Ivanka Trump, tweeted out in honor of it on Feb. 1. The only problem? Ivanka Trump’s Black History Month tweet referenced “all Americans,” and oh, Ivanka, no.
Black History Month is honored in February, so early on Thursday evening, Trump tweeted out what, at first glance, appears to be a fairly innocuous message. Her tweet used the hashtag #BlackHistory Month, and named a few major leaders of the civil rights movement — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks — as well as Black Civil War hero Harriet Tubman. Trump wrote,
During #BlackHistoryMonth, we celebrate heroes like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who were sojourners for freedom – and we resolve to continue to bring greater equality, dignity, and opportunity to all Americans, regardless of race or background.
Very nice message, very moderated and welcoming to all. Except for the fact, that, by it’s very definition, Black History Month isn’t supposed to be about "all Americans." Black History Month is supposed to be about Black Americans and individuals, specifically. It's kind of a Thing.
It, uh, didn't go unnoticed.
It was also a particularly unfortunate choice of words due to her father's infamous "both sides" remark.
In August of 2017, President Trump responded to a violent attack at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that left one woman dead by saying that both sides were to blame. In his initial remarks on Aug. 12, the president said,
We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. On many sides. Many sides. This has been going on for a long time in our country.
The president also at the time did not answer questions about whether he believed he had denounced white supremacists strongly enough, and did not respond to a question about whether he wanted the support of white nationalist groups.
Three days later, President Trump said that he condemned white supremacists, but also doubled down on his original statement. "You also had people that were very fine people on both sides," he said of the rally, where a man drove a car into a crowd of people, killing 32 year old Heather Heyer and injuring more than a dozen others. Prior to the incident, demonstrators were photographed carrying flags with swastikas and Confederate insignia.
Clearly, people have not forgotten the president's comments.
There's also the whole thing about a lot of people thinking Donald Trump is a racist, just, like, in general.
Most recently, the president apparently shot himself in the foot by shooting off his mouth at a Jan. 11 meeting on immigration at the White House. At the meeting, President Trump reportedly called Haiti and African nations "sh*thole countries" and asked why the United States couldn't get more immigrants from countries like Norway instead. (President Trump later denied using the term in a tweet.) The meeting was discussing an immigration deal to allow people who had fled disasters in countries like Haiti, El Salvador, and Guatemala to remain in the country. Given that Haiti is 95 percent Black and Norway is 91 percent ethnically Norwegian or "other European," a lot of people saw his statements as, well, racist.
So Ivanka Trump talking about "equality, dignity, and opportunity [for] all Americans regardless of race or background" is just a liiiiittle ironic, given her father's own alleged statements. Actions speak louder than words, but also, just — man do her father's words speak loud.