The game show host in the White House gave a Hollywood style shout out to the late Frederick Douglass in 2017, implying that he was alive, and it was risibly and typically Trump. CNN:
“I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things,” Trump said. “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.”
Trump added: “Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. Big impact.”
This is the level of comprehension with which Trump is able to deal with the history of systemic racism, as we saw at Mt. Rushmore, when he somnambulantly read the same names from a teleprompter, with all the gravity and empathy that one would use to intone the ingredients in a cake recipe, or something else they found equally trivial. When Trump’s not at a rally, exclusively, he’s going through the motions of governing. He hates it probably as much as we hate seeing him do it.
Here are five descendants of Frederick Douglass, reading his speech before the Abolitionist Society in 1852, after he escaped slavery. It was quite a piece of work then and it resonates particularly now, through these young people who are his descendants, and part of his legacy.