Frederick Douglass was a former slave who escaped bondage and became one of the leading abolitionists of his time, a famous orator, and an all-around inspirational figure. He also died in the year 1895, and today’s pressing political question is: Does Trump know that? Or does Trump think the man is still alive?
The uncertainty began with this tweet from David Frum of The Atlantic:
Here's the video in question, from remarks Trump delivered this morning on the subject of African-American History Month, which begins today:
Let's break this down.
Everything about the quote, including the tenses, makes it sound like Trump sees Douglass as a tireless activist whose good work is being noticed more and more as his life goes on. The description makes him sound like a man who is just now emerging from obscurity, and is still fighting the good fight, and definitely didn't die in 1895.
He mentions him in the same breath as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman, as one of the “black Americans who made America what it is today.” Presumably, he knows that those other people are dead. He also mentions him in the context of the museum, and presumably he knows that museums showcase things that are historical.
It's hard to know what to believe, especially because Trump only made it about a minute into his remarks on African-American History Month before he started bitching about the media again. Perhaps this is one of those mysteries that's destined to remain unsolved. But one thing's for sure, as you'll see in the tweet below: this is going to be one of the greatest African-American History Months ever.