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Presidents have made racist gestures throughout US history

Posted at 9:45 PM, Jul 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 00:45:32-04

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s recent tweets aren’t the first time a president has drawn attention for racist gestures.

Throughout American history, presidents have uttered comments, issued decisions and made public and private moves that critics said were racist, either at the time or in later generations.

Thomas Jefferson wrote that black slaves smelled and couldn’t produce art or poetry. Woodrow Wilson screened the racist film “The Birth of a Nation” at the White House without apology. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon used racist epithets in secretly recorded conversations with aides.

Many of the early presidents owned black slaves. They also held power when African Americans, Native Americans and Latinos did not have the right to vote or serve on juries and could be refused service in public accommodations.