On Wednesday, President Donald Trump met with African-American supporters at the White House where he gave a televised speech in honor of Black History Month. As expected, Trump noted several of recognized black American figures in history, including Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.
But the language Trump used when praising Frederick Douglass -- a famous former slave, abolitionist and suffrage campaigner -- drew criticism and confusion on social media.
"Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice," Mr. Trump said of the historical figure who died in 1895. "Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. A big impact."
Many users took to Facebook and Twitter to question whether or not the president was familiar with Frederick Douglass or his legacy.
There has to be like a 15% chance that Trump has no idea who Frederick Douglass is, right?
— Ken Jones (@KenJones81) February 1, 2017
Yeah...like Trump even knew who Frederick Douglas was until someone told him he was a black man that he should mention https://t.co/X6yz3SJ6AN
— Gail (@msgdr) February 1, 2017
I want ONE person in the Trump administration to say (without the help of wikipedia) who Frederick Douglas is.
— Newsy (@Nussy1664) February 1, 2017
See more reactions to Trump's Frederick Douglass narrative:
Some questioned whether Trump knew the late abolitionist had been dead for more than a century:
— Andrew Adams 🏳️🌈🌹 (@andrewcodyadams) February 1, 2017
Others shared the president's sentiments that Douglass deserves more recognition:
I just love the work Frederick Douglas has done on Empire and think that he's just going to be recognized more and more. #alternativefacts
— Megan Kingery (@megansarak) February 1, 2017
— JordLoz (@_lozoj) February 1, 2017
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer weighed in when asked by a reporter for clarification on what Trump was referring to by way of Douglass' contributions.
"I think he wants to highlight the contributions that he has made," Spicer responded. "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."
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