Jackie Robinson’s daughter to Trump campaign: “We’re insulted”

The daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson is not pleased with a Trump campaign ad that launched this week. Sharon Robinson tweeted out that the Robinson family is “insulted” that her father’s picture appears in the ad. She and the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. are teaming up to chastise the Trump campaign for using images of their fathers.

The campaign ad is titled “Say What You Will About America.” It’s a good ad, which is why I suspect the two women are making a fuss about it. That and the fact that they are Biden voters. Watch for yourself. You’ll see the images of both men pop up for just a brief flash on the screen – first Robinson and then MLK, Jr. The message is very uplifting and all about American exceptionalism.

So yesterday Sharon Robinson, a children’s book author, educational consultant, and Vice-Chair of the JR Foundation, tweeted out that the family is insulted by her father’s inclusion in the campaign ad. “Jackie Robinson’s family strongly objects to the use of Jackie Robinson’s image in a Donald Trump @JRFoundation The Trump campaign is in opposition to all that Jackie Robinson stood for and believed in. We’re insulted and demand that his image be removed! @realDonaldTrump.”

Bernice King, daughter of MLK, Jr., and CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change is also insulted. She posted a short thread about her feelings.

“My father should not be used in ways strongly misaligned with his vision and values,” Bernice King tweeted Wednesday.

“My father was working for an America with leaders who have answered the call to conscience and compassionate action,” she added. “He said, ’We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity. … America needs this type of leader NOW.”

Did the two women coordinate their tweets? I don’t know but Ms. King was the first to post her tweet on the 7th and then Ms. Robinson posted hers the following morning. We are just days away from a presidential election and President Trump is not their candidate. Plus, with the racial unrest and civil unrest playing out in cities across the country, their reactions could have been predicted. It doesn’t really matter, though, unless the daughters own the photographs of their fathers.

The daughters think they are standing up for their fathers to disassociate them from anything that might link them to the bad Orange Man. They clearly prefer the doddering old swamp creature running against Trump. It is not an honest criticism of Trump if only they looked at Trump’s past. Before he entered politics, he worked in New York for minority communities, whether it was to donate money for projects or to oversee refurbishing public places like an ice rink. He’s received awards from black leaders in the past. Trump identifies as a Republican now, though, so the most loyal of Democrat activists must shun him. Perhaps they don’t like the way Trump speaks. There’s no changing a 74-year-old man. Trump will be Trump.

Perhaps they should speak with Alice Johnson, the black woman released from prison thanks to President Trump’s intervention. She’s a Trump supporter now. Trump has granted her a full pardon. She spoke at the Republican convention. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson both associated with Republican politicians as well as Democrats. That’s just how it was then. Republicans often claim MLK, Jr. as a member of the party. The same has happened with Jackie Robinson. Robinson had a friendship with Nelson Rockefeller. He leaned toward Rockefeller Republicans back in the day, not Goldwater Republicans. He was alarmed about what he saw as the emergence of a more “right-wing” Republican Party. Rockefeller arranged for Robinson to be a special delegate to the 1964 Republican convention.

“I was not as sold on the Republican party as I was on the governor,” Robinson wrote of Rockefeller. “Every chance I got, while I was campaigning, I said plainly what I thought of the right-wing Republicans and the harm they were doing. I felt the GOP was a minority party in term of numbers of registered voters and could not win unless they updated their social philosophy and sponsored candidates and principles to attract the young, the black, and the independent voter. I said this often from public, and frequently Republican, platforms. By and large Republicans had ignored blacks and sometimes handpicked a few servile leaders in the black community to be their token “niggers.” How would I sound trying to go all out to sell Republicans to black people? They’re not buying. They know better.”

“I admit freely that I think, live, and breathe black first and foremost. That is one of the reasons I was so committed to the governor and so opposed to Senator Barry Goldwater. Early in 1964 I wrote a Speaking Out piece for The Saturday Evening Post. A Barry Goldwater victory would insure that the GOP would be completely the white man’s party. What happened at San Francisco when Senator Goldwater became the Republican standard-bearer confirmed my prediction.”

“I wasn’t altogether caught of guard by the victory of the reactionary forces in the Republican party, but I was appalled by the tactics they used to stifle their liberal opposition,” Robinson wrote of that 1964 convention. “I was a special delegate to the convention through an arrangement made by the Rockefeller office. That convention was one of the most unforgettable and frightening experiences of my life. The hatred I saw was unique to me because it was hatred directed against a white man. It embodied a revulsion for all he stood for, including his enlightened attitude toward black people.”

The irony of the outrage of the women now is that the campaign ad is a good one and it delivers a message of which both King and Robinson approve. It’s a message about a better America for everyone, the spirit of America, and the goodness of Americans. “Our reach always exceeds our grasp.”

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