*Donald Trump offered condolences to the family of Aretha Franklin following her death on Thursday, and, left social media irate over his choice of words.
“I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well. She worked for me on numerous occasions,” the president said of Franklin during a cabinet meeting, painting himself as was her superior during their interactions.
Aretha Franklin “worked for me on numerous occasions. She was terrific.”
— Holly Figueroa O’Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) August 16, 2018
According to the Press of Atlantic City, Franklin sang at Trump’s Castle casino in 1988 and the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in the 1990s. However, a performance at a venue does not constitute “working for” the venue’s owner. Would the owner of Madison Square Garden say that Aretha “worked for me” many times?
Trump continued: “She was terrific — Aretha Franklin — on her passing. She brought joy to millions of lives and her extraordinary legacy will thrive and inspire many generations to come. She was given a great gift from God — her voice, and she used it well. People loved Aretha. She was a special woman. So just want to pass on my warmest best wishes and sympathies to her family.”
His statement had Twitter fired up on several fronts, including his tone deaf “warmest best wishes” to a grieving family and inevitable comparisons to the beautiful tribute given by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.
It would be no surprise if Aretha Franklin performed at a Trump event years ago. But for him to say she “worked for” him, phrased that way, carries an abundantly clear connotation. It speaks to how he saw her and is devoid of the respect she deserves for her impact.
— G O L D I E. (@goldietaylor) August 16, 2018
When Trump says Aretha “worked for him many times,” he says with the arrogance of a slave owner…
— Jeffrey St. Clair (@JSCCounterPunch) August 16, 2018
Trump just claimed that Aretha Franklin “worked for him on numerous occasions.”
— Ryan Knight ? (@ProudResister) August 16, 2018
OBAMAS ON ARETHA: “Graced with a glimpse of the divine.”
CLINTONS ON ARETHA: “One of America’s greatest national treasures.”
TRUMP ON ARETHA: “She worked for me.”#ArethaFranklin
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) August 16, 2018
The difference between the statements of Obama and Trump on the passing of Aretha Franklin show how important eloquence is within the office of president.
A majority of Americans and a majority of world leaders miss having an educated person as the face of the USA pic.twitter.com/2JJsKvHeVj
— Paul Gasari (@WheresMyArk_23) August 16, 2018