In 746 words, President Trump kicked off Black History Month with a talk winding its way through history and syntax. Some took his comments as suggesting 19th-century abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass was still alive.

Frederick Douglass, 1818-1895. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

What he said, exactly:

“I am very proud now that we have a museum, National Mall, where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things, Frederick Doug — Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more, I notice. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made Americans what it is today. Big impact. I’m proud to honor this heritage and will be honoring it more and more.”

The “who’s done an amazing job” construction led many to conclude Trump wasn’t aware of Douglass being dead.

New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz exploited the gaffe with a reference to Trump’s nominee for secretary of education.

In a joking fake news reference, Borowitz said, that after “raising eyebrows by suggesting that he believed that Frederick Douglass was still alive, Donald Trump revealed on Wednesday that everything he knew about Douglass had come from … Betsy DeVos.”

“Betsy told me all about Frederick Douglass,” Borowitz humorously  quoted Trump as telling reporters. “I think she’s going to be a fantastic Education Secretary. She really made Frederick Douglass come alive.”

Borowitz concluded with another fake reference: “He lashed out at the press for reporting that Frederick Douglass was dead, calling those reports ‘very unfair.’”

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