President Donald Trump is spending Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday meant to honor the United States’ most iconic civil rights leader, at his golf club in Florida.
Trump arrived at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach around 9 a.m. Monday, the White House press pool reported. His next public event was scheduled for 4:20 p.m., when he and first lady Melania Trump would depart Palm Beach International Airport for Washington.
A White House spokeswoman confirmed Trump was not participating in any public events related to MLK Day, but did not return requests for comment about why.
Monday is the 95th day Trump has spent at one of his golf clubs since becoming president, according to CNN’s Manu Raju. Trump has been deeply critical of the time former President Barack Obama spent hitting the links during his presidency.
Trump’s seemingly wide-open schedule offered a stark contrast with past presidents, such as Obama and George W. Bush, who spent MLK Day volunteering or visiting memorials in the civil rights leader’s honor during their respective presidencies.
Despite his proclivity for firing off tweets, Trump’s Twitter account remained noticeably silent on King Jr.’s legacy until late Monday morning. A few hours after using his platform to rail against Democrats, Trump retweeted a video posted to the White House’s official Twitter account, which featured his weekly address.
“On this cherished day, we honor the memory of Reverend King,” Trump said in the video. “And we rededicate ourselves to a glorious future, where every American from every walk of life can live free from fear, liberated from hatred and uplifted by boundless love for their fellow citizens.”
Trump’s apparent decision not to partake in any MLK-related events comes amid rising tensions over his reported remarks calling Haiti and African nations “shithole countries.”
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights activist who marched in Selma, Alabama, alongside King Jr. in 1965, called Trump “a racist” in response to the comments.
“It’s unreal,” Lewis said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “It makes me sad. It makes me cry. As a nation and as a people, we’ve come so far. We’ve made so much progress. And I think this man, this president, is taking us back to another place.”
On Monday, Lewis called on Americans to give back to their communities instead of using the holiday to relax.
“The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is a day on, not a day off,” Lewis tweeted. “It is a day of service to our communities, to our brothers and sisters.”
Last week, Trump signed into law an act that redesignates a historic site honoring MLK in Georgia as a national park. He also signed a proclamation declaring Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Still, his seeming day of relaxation did not go unnoticed on Twitter:
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story said Trump referred to “Haiti and other African nations as ‘shithole countries.’” The story has been updated to reflect that Haiti is not an African nation.
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