Back in the 1880s, George Washington was so revered by Americans that his Feb. 22 birthday was celebrated as a national holiday. The tradition continued until 1968, when Congress passed a bill moving several federal holidays to Mondays to give people more three-day weekends (via National Day Calendar). Though Congress initially rejected the idea of renaming the holiday Presidents’ Day, the new name eventually took hold anyway. Now, the third Monday in February is generally known as Presidents’ Day: a day off for schools, federal employees, and some businesses.
While the holiday was originally meant to pay tribute to Washington and Abraham Lincoln specifically, over the years the meaning of the day has expanded. Per History, the holiday is “popularly seen as a day to recognize the lives and achievements of all of America’s chief executives.” Apparently, the GOP missed the memo this year; the Republican national organization’s holiday greeting sent a strong message about their support for one particular president.
The GOP paid tribute to Donald Trump
On Presidents’ Day 2021, the GOP posted a message on its official Twitter account: “Happy Presidents’ Day! Today, we honor the many great Presidents that have made America the amazing country that it is.” The message had a couple of minor grammatical errors (it should have read “Presidents who“), but what really stood out was the accompanying image. The photo shows Mt. Rushmore in the background, with former President Donald Trump smiling and winking in the foreground, just to the right of Lincoln. The message echoed a sentiment Trump made last summer, when he mused that adding his face to the famous monument “sound[ed] like a good idea” (via USA Today).
Coming right on the heels of Trump’s historic second impeachment trial, the tweet received instant backlash. Responses included statements such as: “[W]hy did you put a seditionist and criminal in your picture?” and “Four are on Mt. Rushmore. One is facing charges in about five states. Which one doesn’t belong and why?” There were plenty of posts with graphic images of the insurrection at the Capitol. Some displayed photos of former presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush crying, and a few gave a shout-out to current White House resident Joe Biden.
Ironically, the one person who would have enjoyed the tweet most — Trump himself — won’t be able to see it unless someone else shows it to him. His Twitter account is still suspended.
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