Woody Guthrie is on a list of American icons who will have statues built in their honor on President Donald Trump’s orders — even though the late folk music legend wrote a seething song decades ago about the Trump family’s allegedly racist business practices in New York City.
The Guthrie statue will be among more than 100 sculptures constructed as part of a “National Garden of American Heroes,” according to a Monday statement from Trump, who first ordered the project in July.
“Each individual has been chosen for embodying the American spirit of daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love,” Trump said in the statement. “Astounding the world by the sheer power of their example, each one of them has contributed indispensably to America’s noble history, the best chapters of which are still to come.”
A White House spokesman did not return a request for comment on Trump’s thinking behind picking Guthrie, who died in 1967.
Known for his left-wing sensibilities and influential style of songwriting, Guthrie penned “Old Man Trump” in 1950 after moving into the Beach Haven apartment complex in Gravesend, Brooklyn.
The complex was owned and operated by Trump’s late father, Fred Trump, and Guthrie said the real estate tycoon discriminated against Black New Yorkers by segregating his units along a “color line.”
“I suppose Old Man Trump knows just how much racial hate he stirred up in the bloodpot of human hearts, when he drawed that color line here at his Beach Haven family project,” reads the verse of the Guthrie tune.
Written many decades before the construction of Donald Trump’s Midtown skyscraper by the same name, Guthrie’s song goes on, “Beach Haven is Trump’s tower, where no black folks come to roam. No, no, Old Man Trump. Old Beach Haven ain’t my home.”
Most of the individuals on Trump’s list of “American Heroes” are conservative stalwarts, such as late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Barry Goldwater. There are also some Founding Fathers on the list, including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
But there are some other eyebrow-raising picks beyond Guthrie.
NBA star Kobe Bryant, who blasted Trump for causing “division” before his death last year, is on the list. Left-wing political scientist Hannah Ardent also made the cut.
The site for Trump’s requested sculpture garden has yet to be determined.
When he first announced plans for the garden last summer, Trump painted it as a response to Black Lives Matter protesters, whom he claimed were waging a “merciless” war against “our national heritage” by tearing down some monuments honoring leaders of confederacy.(c)2021 New York Daily News Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.