Tragedy and Farce
A couple of recent events illustrate Trump's failure to plan or think through consequences:
The Jan. 28 raid on an al-Qaida outpost in Yemen, which resulted in the deaths of a Navy SEAL fighter and several civilians, was approved by President Trump with no advice or consultation from intelligence officers or military commanders, according to officials familiar with the chain of events.
As the New York Times reported on Wednesday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented the plan over dinner at the White House, on Jan. 25, to Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and his political strategist Steve Bannon.
Last month, we celebrated the life of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office. It turned out that that was fake news. Fake news. The statue is cherished, it's one of the favorite things in the—and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln, and we have Jefferson, and we have Dr. Martin Luther King. But they said the statue, the bust of Martin Luther King, was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched. So I think it was a disgrace, but that's the way the press is. Very unfortunate.
As for Frederick Douglass, he “is an example,” according to the president, “of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more.” Not surprisingly, this statement has received a great deal of attention on social media owing to Trump’s failure to identify any of Douglass’s achievements. More problematic is it appears the president believes that the famous abolitionist leader is still alive.
Most of Trump’s address had nothing to do with African-American history or anything having to do with the past. In fact, it is probably not a stretch to suggest that the president has very little interest in history. Unless questioned directly, he rarely reflects on history unless it affects him directly, as in the case of personal stories about his father. Trump used this event to do little more than talk about himself and as an opportunity to discuss current policy and when it comes to the black community that begins and ends with the inner city.