In yet another example of why public figures should wait a little bit to learn the actual facts before they attempt to use a situation to score cheap political points, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney attempted to blame Donald Trump’s “hateful rhetoric” for a black doll found hung at a city playground. Now that the true culprits have been discovered, Trump supporters are asking Kenney when he’ll issue an apology to the president.
Last week, law enforcement was called about a black doll that appeared to be hung in effigy from a telephone wire at Philly’s Weccacoe Playground, which is the original burial ground for the local Mother Bethel AME Church. Within a few hours, the doll was removed. Meanwhile, the outrage came fast and furious, including from Philly’s Democratic mayor, who quickly issued a statement (h/t Jazz Shaw):
While he avoided mentioning Trump’s name in the tweeted version of his statement, Kenney’s full statement — which he admits was written while the investigation “is still underway” — made clear that he blamed the racially-charged display on “the hateful rhetoric of our President.”
“I am sickened by what took place today at Weccacoe Playground,” said the mayor. “Although the investigation is still underway, I want to immediately condemn this despicable act. It demonstrates how far this country has fallen when people are inspired by the hateful rhetoric of our President. And it is particularly disgraceful to make a sacrilege out of a sacred burial ground, where thousands of African Americans are interred. The City will do everything in its power to bring the people responsible to justice for this disgusting act.”
But as CBS Philadelphia learned within a day, it appears that Trump’s “hateful rhetoric” had nothing to do with the disturbing display.
Rev. Mark Tyler, one of the first to see the hanged doll, initially posted on Facebook that “sadly” he was “not surprised” to see it. “For a person of color in the country, I would say there’s really no place I would go and say, ‘Oh, in this place, I know I’m safe.’ It’s just not been my history.”
But in an update to the post, Tyler revealed who was actually behind it: A group of kids, both black and white, under the age of 13, who just wanted to “creep people out.”
“Some young children came forward and confessed that they actually did it. Believe it or not, these children were under the age of 13. They were black and they were white and they live here in the neighborhood,” he said.
In response, Trump fans have been asking Kenney when he plans to issue a follow-up statement: