During his acceptance speech, Spike Lee urged Americans to "do the right thing" during the upcoming 2020 election
In his only mention of the 2019 Academy Awards online, Trump slammed the BlacKkKlansman director, whose film won Best Adapted Screenplay at Sunday night’s ceremony.
Without specifically mentioning the president by name, Lee, 61, ended his acceptance speech by pointing out that “the 2020 presidential election is right around the corner.”
“Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing!” he said, referencing his 1989 classic Do the Right Thing. The film examined race relations in a Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood and the tragic consequences of letting hate and racism go unchecked.
In response, Trump tweeted that it would “be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President.”
Trump went on to claim that he’s “done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts, etc.) than almost any other Pres!”
Earlier this month, the president also claimed that he had taken “care of” criminal justice reform.
When asked during an interview with CBS This Morning about whether he was “sensitive” to the reasons why many viewers were choosing to protest the NFL in support of Colin Kaepernick, Trump pointed out that last year he signed a criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act, into law.
In addition to overhauling prison sentencing laws, including shortening mandatory minimum sentences for some nonviolent drug offenders, the legislation, which was supported by Republicans and Democrats, will also expand early-release programs, according to the New York Times. However, Vox pointed out that the legislation will only help some of the estimated 181,000 people in the federal system.
“I’m the one that had passed judicial reform,” Trump remarked on CBS. “President Obama tried. They all tried. Everybody wanted to do it. And I got it done and I’ve been, you know, really — a lot of people in the NFL have been calling and thanking me for it.”
Trump explained that he believed the NFL protests largely had to “do with reform,” adding, “I took care of that.”
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Lee’s powerful speech was not something he had rehearsed ahead of time, as just before his first ever win — he has previously been awarded an Honorary Oscar — The Daily Show host Trevor Noah spotted the director quickly scribbling down his speech backstage.
“While walking around backstage, I noticed a small figure hunched in a corner writing something,” he captioned a photo of the director which he shared on Instagram. “I got closer and realized it was Spike Lee writing an acceptance speech for his Oscar nominations. I asked him if I could take this picture to remember the moment and he said yes and ‘I hope I get to use this.’ “
Although Lee picked up his first-ever Oscar on Sunday, the legendary director was far from thrilled that Green Book went home with the Best Picture trophy, beating out numerous films, including BlacKkKlansman.
The BlacKkKlansman director was then seen “intensely” speaking to Jordan Peele.
Later in the evening, the director spoke to a room of reporters and revealed what was actually going through his mind after Green Book‘s win.
“Let me take another sip! [sips champagne] Next question! What did I do?” he sarcastically joked, as he danced in a circle with his glass, before expressing why he felt like the decision was a “bad call.”
“No, I thought it was courtside at the Garden, and the ref made a bad call. Courtside,” the die-hard New York basketball team fan said. “The world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Knicks coming back next year.”
When asked if winning Best Adapted Screenplay made up for his loss at the 1990 Oscars — his film Do the Right Thing lost for Best Picture that year to Driving Miss Daisy — Lee quipped, “Every time somebody is driving somebody, I lose!”
“They changed the seating arrangement! But in ’89 I didn’t get nominated. So, this one we did.”
The 91st Academy Awards were broadcast live from Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.