What happened when Trump visited the African American History Museum, according to its founding director

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tags: museums, Trump, Lonnie Bunch, National Museum of African American History and Culture

In his upcoming memoir, newly appointed Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III describes the private tour he gave President Trump of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, recalling that Trump’s reaction to the Dutch role in the global slave trade was, “You know, they love me in the Netherlands.”

Shortly before Trump took office in 2017, his administration asked to visit the newly opened museum, according to Bunch’s upcoming memoir, “A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama and Trump.” Bunch was the museum’s founding director from 2005 until June, when he became the Smithsonian’s secretary.

The incoming president wanted to come on the holiday commemorating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., according to the memoir. The administration also asked that the museum be closed to the public during the visit. “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 writes. Another day was chosen.

Among those who joined Trump were Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who is featured in the museum and who had been nominated to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and King’s niece Alveda King. Bunch recalls hoping the visit “would contribute to a broader understanding of race relations in America. I am ever the optimist.”

Read entire article at Washington Post

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