President Donald Trump accused Oscar-winning director Spike Lee of a “racist hit” for urging people to vote in 2020 at the Academy Awards Sunday.
Lee made the comment after winning his first competitive Oscar for directing “BlackKklansman” after five nominations over 30 years.
"The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let's all mobilize, let's all be on the right side of history,” Lee said in his acceptance speech. "Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let's do the right thing.”
"That car drove down that one street in [Charlottesville], Virginia, and the president of the United States did not reject, refute [or] did not denounce the Klan, Alt-Right and Neo-Nazis," Lee later told reporters. "This film, whether we won Best Picture or not, this film will stand the test of time being on the right side of history."
Trump lashes out over “racist hit”:
Trump complained on Twitter that Lee was “racist” against him in his remarks.
“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!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump accused of racial ‘dog-whistle’:
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait noted that the tweet was a “revival of a classic Republican dog-whistle charge against President Obama.”
“Republicans have indignantly insisted that the teleprompter criticism was not some kind of coded racism,” he wrote. “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.”
“In theory, a president could listen to a call for making the moral choice of love against hate and doing ‘the right thing’ and interpret it as an endorsement — or, at minimum, a nonpartisan statement,” he added. “Trump processed it as a personal attack.”