Breaking with his predecessors, Trump skips community service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, spends time on his golf course

  • President Donald Trump did not participate in any community service or volunteer work on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
  • He urged the public on Friday, before leaving for his Florida golf club, to observe the day "with acts of civic work and community service in honor of Dr. King's extraordinary life."
  • Trump's decision to refrain from doing community service marks a departure from tradition observed by his recent predecessors. 


Before leaving the White House for Florida on Friday, President Donald Trump encouraged the public to observe Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, "with acts of civic work and community service in honor of Dr. King's extraordinary life" and "his great legacy."

But Trump apparently did not partake in any such service on Monday. 

Instead, he spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the golf course at the swanky Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

The move is a departure from those of his recent predecessors, all of whom did some form of community service on the day during their presidencies, and sometimes after.

20 PHOTOS
Donald Trump's golf outings through the years
See Gallery
Donald Trump's golf outings through the years
U.S. property mogul Donald Trump holds a golf club during a media event on the sand dunes of the Menie estate, the site for Trump's proposed golf resort, near Aberdeen, north east Scotland May 27, 2010. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN POLITICS - Tags: SPORT GOLF BUSINESS)
Businessman and television personality Donald Trump (2nd L in red hat) and Carolyn Kepcher (2nd R), executive vice president of the Trump Organization, watch the first round of the 105th U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, North Carolina, June 16, 2005. The tournament is being played on the famed Pinehurst No. 2 course. REUTERS/John Sommers II RTW/KS
Donald Trump (L) and professional golfer Natalie Gulbis look down the fairway at the Manhattan Golf Classic on Governors' Island in New York October 22, 2006. REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky (UNITED STATES)
Donald Trump tosses a golf ball to his caddy after hitting a shot into the rough in a skins match at the Manhattan Golf Classic on Governors' Island in New York October 22, 2006. REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky (UNITED STATES)
Donald Trump (R) drives his golf cart along the ninth fairway while he watches the final group of the day with an unidentified partner during the first round of the ADT Championship LPGA golf tournament at the Trump International course in West Palm Beach, Florida November 15, 2007. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES)
U.S. property mogul Donald Trump poses next to bagpipers during a media event on the sand dunes of the Menie estate, the site for Trump's proposed golf resort, near Aberdeen, north east Scotland May 27, 2010. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN POLITICS - Tags: SPORT GOLF BUSINESS)
Real Estate magnate Donald Trump (R) plays golf with Scotland's Colin Montgomerie during the opening of his Trump International Golf Links golf course near Aberdeen, northeast Scotland July 10, 2012. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS SPORT GOLF REAL ESTATE)
Golf - RICOH Women's British Open 2015 - Trump Turnberry Resort, Scotland - 30/7/15 US Presidential Candidate Donald Trump views the course during a visit to his Scottish golf course Turnberry Action Images via Reuters / Russell Cheyne Livepic
U.S. property magnate Donald Trump practices his swing at the 13th tee of his new Trump International Golf Links course on the Menie Estate near Aberdeen, Scotland, Britain June 20, 2011. To match Special Report USA-ELECTION/TRUMP-GOLF REUTERS/David Moir/File Photo
HARRISON, NY - JUNE 9: Donald Trump hits a shot during the pro-am prior to the start of the Buick Classic at the Westchester Country Club on June 9, 2004 in Harrison, New York. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 09: Donald Trump putts on the ninth hole in the pro-amateur Buick Classic at the Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y. (Photo by Howard Earl Simmons/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 7: Tycoon Donald Trump hits out of the second fairway during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on February 7, 2003 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 27: Real-estate mogul Donald Trump (right) and director Ron Howard ride golf cart during the opening celebration for Trump's latest venture, the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
092226.FI.0113.trump.1.LS. Real estate mogul Donald Trump is set to break ground on a luxury housing project at his golf course on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
American businessman Donald Trump eyes his shot off the tee during the ground-breaking ceremony for the Trump International Golf Club, Palm Beach, Florida, 1997. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
American football player Tom Brady (fore) tees off, watched by real estate developer Donald Trump (in red cap), on the course at Trump International Golf Club, Palm Beach, Florida, January 22, 2006. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
View of American football player Tom Brady (seated left) and real estate developer Donald Trump in a golf cart at Trump International Golf Club, Palm Beach, Florida, January 22, 2006. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
Developer Donald Trump poses next to a green side bunker on hole 11 at his new golf course, Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, on Friday morning. Digital image taken on 01/14/05 (Photo by Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Donald Trump (Photo by Mirek Towski/FilmMagic for Laura Davidson Public Relations)
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to play host to members of the U.S. Coast Guard he invited to play golf at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

During his presidency, former President Barack Obama and his family paid tribute to the civil rights legend by doing some form of volunteer work, whether it involved visiting a soup kitchen or helping paint a mural at a shelter.

Former President George W. Bush attended several memorials and services honoring King Jr. He also invited African-American clergy members to the White House.

Former President Bill Clinton participated in volunteering activities. He also signed legislation commemorating the holiday and King Jr.'s contributions to American progress. 

Before leaving the White House on Friday, Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Monday as the national holiday in honor of King. 

He also said, in his weekly address released on Monday, that "Dr. King's dream is our dream, it is the American dream, it's the promise stitched into the fabric of our nation, etched into the hearts of our people and written into the soul of humankind."

"It is the dream of a world where people are judged by who they are, not how they look or where they are from," he added.

Trump's day out of the spotlight came on the heels of revelations that he asked, during a bipartisan White House meeting about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), why the US should accept people from "shithole countries" like Haiti, El Salvador, and certain African nations.

He subsequently wondered, according to The Washington Post, why the US couldn't take in more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he'd met with the day before.

Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who marched for civil rights alongside King Jr. in Selma, Alabama in 1965, denounced Trump as a "racist" in response.

"It's unreal," Lewis said during an interview on ABC's "This Week." 

"It makes me sad. It makes me cry," Lewis said. "As a nation and as a people, we've come so far. We've made so much progress. And I think this man, this president, is taking us back to another place."

Trump's alleged comments drew immediate and intense backlash from world leaders as well, particularly those representing nations Trump reportedly singled out as "shithole countries."

The White House did not deny that Trump made the comment, but Trump later said the comments quoted by The Post "weren't made."

Top Republicans and Trump supporters also repeatedly dodged questions about whether Trump used the word "shithole" to describe Haiti and African countries while appearing on several Sunday morning shows last weekend. 

It's not the first time Trump has drawn scrutiny for making racially-charged remarks.

He attracted widespread condemnation last summer when he said, in response to the deadly white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, that "many sides" were to blame when a self-proclaimed white supremacist drove his car through a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a demonstrator in the process. 

NOW WATCH: This congressman wants to target the USPS to help stop the opioid crisis

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Top Republicans are taking aim at a Democratic senator who said Trump made 'shithole countries' comment

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.