Vice President Mike Pence has stirred controversy on social media after tweeting about a white man on Black History Month.
In recognition of Black History Month, Pence tweeted about his admiration for former President Abraham Lincoln and his work to abolish slavery, the Huffington Post reported.
“As #BlackHistoryMonth begins, we remember when Pres. Lincoln submitted the 13th Amendment, ending slavery, to the states #NationalFreedomDay,” Pence’s tweet read.
The tweet drew responses from several social media users, who highlighted the fact that the vice president chose to honor a white man on the first day of Black History Month.
“Did you really try to honor #BlackHistoryMonth by praising a white man?” asked one Twitter user.
“Maybe remember when ACTUAL BLACK PEOPLE did stuff? Besides Ben Carson + Omarosa of course,” tweeted film director Ava DuVernay. “And um, about the 13th amendment … oh nevermind.”
“‘As Black History Month begins, let’s somehow find a way to make this about white people I think blacks should be thankful for.’ — Mike Pence,” wrote another user, who appeared to be explaining what might have been going through the Vice President’s head when he sent the tweet out.
“Can’t wait for women’s history month when Pence & Tr*mp thank the brave dudes who let us have a month outside the kitchen,” responded another user.
Others pointed out that black history started before the 13th Amendment.
“It’s part of the racist imagination that Black history began when white men ‘freed the slaves’ — #BHM is timeless,” wrote one user.
“Emancipation is not black history,” wrote another. “It did not free slaves, just deligitimized slavery. Black history is what we did for America.”
President Donald Trump’s attempts to recognize Black History Month were also met with criticism.
The President held a listening session in the White House on Feb. 1. All attendees were either Trump surrogates or worked for the Trump campaign, MSNBC reported.
“I am very proud now that we have a museum, a national mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things. Frederick Douglass, is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I noticed,” Trump said during the listening session.
The statement left several people with the impression that President Trump did not actually know who Frederick Douglass was or what he accomplished. When asked to clarify the president’s statement about Frederick Douglass, press secretary Sean Spicer responded:
Well, I think there’s contribution — I think he wants to highlight the contributions that he has made and I think through a lot of the actions and statements that he’s going to make, I think the contributions of Frederick Douglass will become more and more.
President Trump also began his speech by talking about the election, according to the transcript released by Toronto Star Washington correspondent Daniel Dale.
“Well the election, it came out really well,” he said. “Next time we’ll triple the number or quadruple it. We want to get over 51 right. At least 51.”
Sources: Huffington Post, Mike Pence/Twitter, MSNBC / Photo Credit: President Trump/Twitter, Gage Skidmore/Flickr