First Lady Melania Trump's Juneteenth video drew mixed reactions on social media, particularly after the president's comments. Melania posted a video on Friday where she sat in a lavishly furnished room reading the children's book All Different Now by Angela Johnson. She referenced the ongoing racism in the U.S. today, calling slavery "the worst part of our country's past."
"Today, we celebrate Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States," Melania said in her video on Friday. "As our country works through the racial issues that we still face today, it is important to remember we are one global community. Let's all agree that any differences we have should be celebrated and learned from."
Later in the video, the first lady also remarked on her first solo international trip during the Trump presidency, when she visited Ghana in 2018. She said that she "was so moved to take a tour of the house of slaves and stepped through the 'Door of No Return,' a memorial to the Atlantic slave trade."
"My hope for everyone today is that by understanding and reflecting on even the worst part of our country's past, we can commit to lifting each other up and celebrating the freedom we all deserve," she continued.
Melania's acknowledgment of Juneteenth was met with lukewarm responses at best on social media, mainly because of her husband's commentary on the holiday earlier this week. On Thursday, the president told The Wall Street Journal that "nobody had ever heard of" Juneteenth before he scheduled his campaign rally on that day.
"I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous," he said. "It's actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it."
Many Americans begged to differ, as Juneteenth has been celebrated widely since 1865. The fact that the U.S. government does not acknowledge it as a national holiday is viewed by many as evidence of systemic racism, though states began making the holiday official in 1980. Now, many want to see it acknowledged on a federal level.
As for the first lady, opinions range widely on her new video, with many Americans taking a new perspective on her since the release of the new biography The Art of Her Deal last week. Here's a look at how Twitter responded to Melania Trump's Juneteenth post.
Hey guys quiet down the birther is here to lecture us about the importance of Juneteenth.— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) June 19, 2020
So we’re just gonna pretend your birtherism went the way of your old ‘kidneys’, right? K. #BeBest.— Lesley Abravanel🆘 (@lesleyabravanel) June 19, 2020
How many death threats were made and how many sleepless nights did President Obama’s young daughters have because Melania Trump, like her husband, went on television and pushed the birther conspiracy? Juneteenth would be a good day for both Trumps to apologize. But they won’t.— Jeff Hoyle (@Hoopgreen) June 19, 2020
Lady, please. You and your husband promoted a birther conspiracy questioning the legitimacy of the first Black President. https://t.co/oZAM3scKhe— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) June 19, 2020
Melania Trump worked w/out a work visa, used 'migration to bring her entire family to America, & has been silent for over 3 years as children were torn from their mothers @ the border. It's more than a a little rich for her to celebrate 'juneteenth'. Give us a break.— Jorge L. Estevanez (@EstevanezJorge) June 19, 2020
Melania Trump celebrates Juneteenth
“My dear citizens...”
You really have to give her credit for trying, but still... eeeesh is this WEIRD!
- Why is she so far away?— BetoMedia (@BetoMedia) June 20, 2020
She was a model after all
- Why is she alone?
Barron? or Ivanka?
- Why the fancy setting?
Maybe not so “Royal” pic.twitter.com/EUVq7rpNMr
How sweet. But I can't seem to find any similar tweet last year on this date. Or any other Juneteenth that supposedly is so special. So be honest, Melania: did you really write this?— npf125 (@npf125) June 19, 2020