Since 1994, American presidents have honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day by participating in public service projects and calling on Americans to volunteer to help others in their communities.
Donald Trump broke that tradition, spending the day on the golf course instead.
The president has been hammered by allegations that he is racist after a meeting in which he allegedly referred to African nations as “sh**hole countries” and reportedly standing behind the remarks. That comes after a checkered history that includes facing lawsuits for discriminating against black people seeking to rent apartments at Trump-owned properties in the 1970s and spreading racially charged propaganda on Twitter during the 2016 campaign. Trump was also a driving force behind the movement claiming that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, a movement many derided as racist.
Trump addressed the latest flap over the weekend, telling reporters that he is the “least racist person you have ever interviewed.”
As CNN noted, Trump marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day by signing a federal proclamation on Friday alongside King’s nephew and praising King’s role in the Civil Rights Movement. But beyond that, he did nothing on Monday to commemorate the holiday. The report noted that each of the last three presidents have spent the day honoring King and taking part in service projects, but Trump spent the day at a familiar setting — the golf course.
As New York Magazine noted, Trump took the 94th trip to a golf course in the first year in office. He visited Trump International Golf Course and had a blank public schedule for the rest of the day. As the Denver Post noted, the family of Martin Luther King Jr. has encouraged public service on the day to honor the late Civil Rights leader, asking that people see it as a “day on” rather than a “day off.”
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Trump visits Trump golf course https://t.co/D7fWzQAh23
— Civic Center Denver (@CivicCenterDenv) January 15, 2018
Trump did return in the afternoon to attack Democrats on Twitter over failure to reach a deal on the DACA program. He did retweet a video honoring King originally posted to the official White House Twitter account.
"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." pic.twitter.com/tyUZGTecDY
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 15, 2018
Aside from retweeting the MLK Day message, Donald Trump has not made any public statements on the day honoring King by late afternoon.