Spike Lee had more than a few choice words for Jared Kushner after the senior adviser to President Donald Trump made comments indicating that Black people in America needed to motivate themselves in order to be successful.
Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, made his widely criticized statement during an Oct. 26 appearance on “Fox & Friends” in which he made much of Trump’s purported support of Black people. “I think we’ve seen in a lot of the Black community, which is mostly Democrat, is that President Trump’s policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about. But he can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful,” said Kushner.
Lee was outraged, and, according to Indiewire, spoke out about the matter on SiriusXM’s “The Joe Madison Show” on October 30, condemning Kushner’s remarks.
“First of all, that guy’s a punk,” the filmmaker said. “Second of all, our ancestors with — here’s how America was built: The United States of America was built by the stealing of the land from the Native Americans and the genocide Americans coupled with slavery. So we built this country! So what the hell is he talking about? We don’t want to succeed?! He’s nuts!”
The director expanded on his attack of what he considered to be Kushner’s tone-deaf remarks, implying that his message would go over quite differently with a Black audience.
“I am so tired of white folks telling us what we need to do,” he continued. “How could this guy, how could this punk-ass say what Black folks need to do? You know, it’s like there wasn’t 400 years of slavery, systematic racism, go on, list, list list list […] this guy to say to Black people, that we don’t wanna succeed? Hey, let him come to Brooklyn talking that. Let him come to Harlem talking that mess.”
Lee was not the only public figure to pan Kushner’s statement, as Whoopi Goldberg also openly disparaged the comments. The co-host of “The View” addressed Kushner’s words on the Oct 27 episode of the show.
“Here’s what is wrong for me,” Goldberg said. “If you want people to stop bitching about stuff, then do something about it. You want people to stop saying ‘Hey, stop shooting us,’ then stop shooting us!”
She added, “You want to understand what’s going on in the Black community, ask the white folks that are marching with all these Black Lives Matter kids, ’cause they’re saying, ‘We get it, why don’t you?'”
“When you talk about what you’re going to do for the Black community, don’t tell me you’re going to pass this law or that law, because you had an opportunity to do that,” Goldberg continued.
“What I want you to do is I want you to address the issues. If you address the issues then I’ll have some faith. When you do this, this is like a fart in a dust storm. It’s gone.”
President Barack Obama also slammed Kushner’s statement in Orlando at an Oct. 27 campaign rally for Joe Biden. “[Trump] loves to talk about Black unemployment, ‘Look how low Black unemployment’ — well, you know what, unemployment was really high when I came in and we brought that unemployment low and it kept on going low,” said Obama. “And he wants to take credit for it, says he’s the best president for Black folks since Abe Lincoln […] His son-in-law says Black folks have to want to be successful, that’s the problem. Who are these folks? What history books do they read?”