This morning, President Trump issued a statement commemorating the first day of Kwanzaa that was exactly 64 words long—the shortest Kwanzaa statement since former President Bill Clinton started issuing annual remarks in 1993.
Here’s Trump’s three-sentence statement issued by the White House on Tuesday:
Today marks the first day of Kwanzaa, a weeklong celebration of African American heritage and culture. Together, let us celebrate during this joyous time the richness of the past and look with hope toward a brighter future.
As families and friends join to light the Kinara, Melania and I extend our warmest wishes for a joyful holiday season and a prosperous year to come.
For comparison, Clinton’s first Kwanzaa statement was 143 words long—more than twice as long as Trump’s remarks. President George W. Bush’s 2001 Kwanzaa statement was 172 words long. And in 2009, Barack Obama issued a statement with 196 words.
See for yourself:
Bill Clinton’s Message on the Observance of Kwanzaa
December 1993, 143 words
I take great pleasure in extending warm greetings to all who are observing the festival of Kwanzaa during this holiday season.
While Kwanzaa has only been celebrated for a quarter century in our country, it has grown steadily each year, inviting more people to embrace their African heritage. Today, millions of people of African descent gather together with loved ones to enjoy this special holiday based on the rich cultural traditions of Africa.
At a time when we are seeking ways to revitalize our neighborhoods and empower those who have been powerless for too long, Kwanzaa encourages us to rebuild and gives us the opportunity to celebrate the strengths of the African American community. The seven principles of Kwanzaa—unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith—provide young people with the pride, direction, and inner strength to work for a brighter future.
On each of the seven days, from Umoja to Imani, I wish all those who are commemorating Kwanzaa a wonderful holiday season of hope and joy.
President George W. Bush Kwanzaa Message
December 2001, 172 words
I am pleased to send warm greetings to all who are celebrating Kwanzaa.
Established in 1966, Kwanzaa represents an African-American and Pan-African holiday celebrating family, community, and culture. The seven-day observance, beginning December 26 and ending January 1, serves as a special time to recognize and reaffirm the Nguzo Saba, or Seven Principles, of African culture. These are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
Kwanzaa provides an opportunity for people of African heritage, regardless of their religious background or faith, to come together and to show reverence for their Creator and creation, to commemorate the past, to recommit to high ideals, and to celebrate the good in life. These life-affirming traditions take on particular resonance this year, as the United States and the world face new challenges to peace. As individuals, families, and communities take part in this celebration of unity and of enduring values, I extend best wishes to people throughout the globe for a wonderful and memorable Kwanzaa.
Best wishes on this special occasion.
President Barack Obama’s Kwanzaa statement
December 2009, 196 words
Michelle and I send warm wishes to all those celebrating Kwanzaa this holiday season. This is a joyous time of year when African Americans and all Americans come together to celebrate our blessings and the richness of our cultural traditions. This is also a time of reflection and renewal as we come to the end of one year and the beginning of another. The Kwanzaa message tells us that we should recall the lessons of the past even as we seize the promise of tomorrow.
The seven principles of Kwanzaa—unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith—express the values that have inspired us as individuals and families, communities and country. These same principles have sustained us as a nation during our darkest hours and provided hope for better days to come. Michelle and I know the challenges facing many African American families and families in all communities at this time, but we also know the spirit of perseverance and hope that is ever present in the community. It is in this spirit that our family extends our prayers and best wishes during this season and for the new year to come.
To quote Trump himself: What a convenient mistake.