HuffPost: Rev. Al Sharpton: “Trump Should Reflect On Race And His Legacy After Museum Visit”

Rev. Al Sharpton writes in a guest piece on HuffPost:

“Today, President Trump toured the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, where he was shown everything from slavery to the present day ― depicting both the ugliness in our past and the progress that we have achieved. As one who has toured the museum (and even has two or three photos in it), I have taken great pride in attending events there and showing people various parts of this unusually important institution. My immediate reaction to Trump’s visit was cynical; that it’s just a photo op, and it’s a way for him to get by some of his policies that are clearly bigoted and exclusionary. But on the other side, it is good that he went and at least saw some of the history that makes many of us look at him through the eyes of people that have felt trumped all of their lives and the lives of their forefathers. The real question now is, how will the Trump era be viewed in that museum?

We are a little over a month into Trump’s Presidency, and there are many unanswered questions as to how he will proceed when it comes to issues impacting our communities. As the president immediately following Barack Obama ― the first African American president ― will Trump want to be in that museum as the one who reversed progress like unemployment being cut in half for Blacks, or implementation of the Affordable Care Act that disproportionately helped Blacks? Will he want to be the one who turns back from an emphasis on criminal justice reform, including police reform and Obama’s commutations of low-level offenders more than the last 11 presidents combined? Does he want to be remembered as the President that removed protection of voting rights and instead tried to reverse it with more suppression tactics like voter ID laws?
President Trump should keep in mind today and going forward that he will be in that museum one day alongside others. He can go down surprising everyone by continuing to ensure that the arc is bent towards justice, or he can be another one who tried to bend the arc back in the wrong direction. Will he be the first President in modern history that didn’t meet with the Congressional Black Caucus, or heads of major civil rights organizations (even though they may be critical of some of some of his policies)? He should reflect on the Museum of African American History and Culture and realize that the corridor of history is longer than an election cycle.

Black history is American history. Trump should realize that he cannot only look at black history, but that he will be in it.”


I must confess that I haven’t always been a big fan of Rev. Al Sharpton. But, he is right that history will eventually judge President Trump.

Does Trump really want to be on the wrong side of social ands political progress? Does he really want a to be remembered for a presidency based largely on a white minority demographic that did not represent the real America with all of its diversity, talent, and energy?

I’ll also admit that I don’t always “get” President Trump. In the clip I posted this morning about “Dreamers”

the President could have been channeling my thoughts when I looked out at the “Dreamers” who came before me in Immigration Court:  wonderful kids, lots of courage and determination, over-achievers, the future of America, remind me of my own kids and their goals and aspirations and my grandchildren, the only real difference the accident of place of birth.

The only place I might have differed with the President is on the “bad guys.” He thinks that more of them got into DACA than I do.

I actually found that the much-maligned DHS/USCIS did a very good job of getting the right kids into the program. In almost all cases, the “good kids” got DACA, while those with some significant problems in their records came back for me to deal with in court.

No system is perfect, but having observed and been involved with the DHS/”Legacy INS” over more than four decades, DACA appeared to be one of the best and most effective programs that the immigration authorities had ever developed and implemented!

At any rate, I don’t get why President Trump can’t see that most (not all) other migrants here without legal status are pretty much the same as the DACA kids. In my experience, the overwhelming majority are decent, hard working, law abiding individuals who are making our country a better place and basically want the same things the rest of us do: safety, stability, food on the table, opportunity, and a decent future for their kids. Nothing very nefarious or threatening there.

There are obviously folks advising the President who have some wrong-headed views on race, diversity, and the real strength of America. He put them there, so one has to assume they reflect his views.

Yet, I can’t help but wish that President Trump would break out of his “inner circle” and get to know the migrants, both documented and undocumented, and ethnic minorities who have built and comprise the real America. That would be his best chance of making America great and leaving a great legacy.