Last night an exuberant Spike Lee gave a short speech after winning the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award (his first Oscar win!) for BlacKkKlansman. The speech was about the history of slavery, Spike’s own history, and a call for people to choose love over hate.
“The 2020 election is right around the corner,” Spike concluded. “Let’s all mobilize, let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing.”
Seems pretty uncontroversial, right?
President Trump seemed to interpret a call to choose love over hate as some kind of attack (wonder why) and lashed out on Twitter, calling Lee the REAL racist:
Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts,etc.) than almost any other Pres!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2019
As Jonathan Chait points out, this is another form of the old “Obama can’t speak without a teleprompter!” attack that Republicans bizarrely smeared Trump’s predecessor with. (Say what you want about Obama, but the guy could both write and give speeches.)
“Republicans have indignantly insisted that the teleprompter criticism was not some kind of coded racism. But Trump, who has turned a lot of his party’s subtext into text, has performed a usefully clarifying service. By reviving a version of the teleprompter attack on Spike Lee, he has made clear that ‘can’t speak without notes’ is a joke about black people being unintelligent.”
Twitter was not in the mood for Trump’s race-baiting tantrum:
be nice if you could read at all https://t.co/oCYb3u89GF— blaine capatch (@blainecapatch) February 25, 2019
Trump's attack on Spike Lee today is part of his vile, calculated pattern of demeaning visible blacks from Maxine Waters to NFL players to John Lewis while emboldening white supremacy with his RT of their tweets, calling them "fine people" and refusing to denounce them. https://t.co/qxfkSsVTsw— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) February 25, 2019
Is...is wearing orange makeup a race now? https://t.co/dzcxo8Qm1o— Miles Kahn (@mileskahn) February 25, 2019
donald trump calling spike lee a racist the most 2019 shit ever https://t.co/3wJdRDsl58— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) February 25, 2019
Omg grow the fuck up. First bull shit I've seen this morning. https://t.co/yGkx3XhLtg— David Weissman (@davidmweissman) February 25, 2019
This is going to be a long campaign season.
h/t: NY Mag