Before Lonnie G. Bunch III became the secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, he was the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Soon after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Bunch gave him a private tour of the museum — and what happened that day apparently disappointed Bunch enough that he wrote about it in his coming memoir.
Over the weekend, The Washington Post reported details from the memoir, indicating that Bunch said the Trump administration initially requested that the president and Secretary of Housing and Development Ben Carson be given a private tour of the museum on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — and that the museum be closed to the public during that time.
“The notion that we could shut out visitors on the first King holiday since the opening of the museum was not something I could accept,” Bunch wrote in his memoir, according to The Post.
After choosing another day in February 2017, Trump arrived at the museum, where The Post said Bunch recalled first being advised by the president’s aides not to show off anything “difficult,” because Trump was in a “foul mood.” However, Bunch reportedly said the president greeted him warmly and he then took Trump into the history galleries, which begin with an exhibit on the global slave trade.
Trump paused in front of a display on Dutch involvement in the slave trade, Bunch reportedly wrote, adding that he “felt that maybe he was paying attention to the work of the museum.” But then the president turned to his guide and said, “You know, they love me in the Netherlands,” before continuing on.
“There is little I remember about the rest of the hour we spent together,” Bunch wrote. “I was so disappointed in his response to one of the greatest crimes against humanity in history. Here was a chance to broaden the views and the understanding of the incoming president and I had been less successful than I had expected.”
Bunch did reportedly say Trump was enthusiastic when viewing a display about Carson’s career as a neuroscientist, along with a display about Muhammad Ali. The president later wrote on Twitter that the day had been “amazing.”
“Very much enjoyed my tour of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture,” Trump tweeted on February 22, 2017. “A great job done by amazing people!”
- [LLODO] Kyrsten Sinema channels John McCain, gives ‘thumbs-down’ vote on $15 minimum wage plan
- [LLODO] Rep. Debbie Lesko: Biden’s COVID vaccine plan – America Last. Why put illegal immigrants ahead of US seniors?
- [LLODO] Austin mayor blasts Abbott’s lift of mask mandate, but says ‘Neanderthal’ is ‘not a word I would have used’
- [LLODO] Texas beefs up border crackdown to stop human and drug smuggling
- [LLODO] Nebraska mayor’s doctor husband found dead in home: reports
- [LLODO] Mark Pavelich, 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ Team USA gold-medal winner, dead at 63
- [LLODO] Missouri pastor on leave after telling wives to ‘lose weight,’ strive to look like Melania Trump
- [LLODO] Family leaves $5G tip for Colorado restaurant: ‘Unbelievable generosity’