The Republican leader called the address, which did not name him but touched on the United States’ history of racism and slavery, a “hit” on his time in office and claimed he has done more for African Americans than almost any other president in US history.
Disparaging Lee’s use of notes in his speech, Trump tweeted: “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, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts, etc.) than almost any other Pres!”
The director, who won the best adapted screenplay Oscar for BlacKkKlansman, touched on Black History Month, his own family’s origins in servitude, and the genocide of Native Americans in his speech.
He said: “Before the world tonight, I give praise to our ancestors who have built this country into what it is today along with the genocide of its native people. We all connect with our ancestors. We will have love and wisdom regained, we will regain our humanity. It will be a powerful moment.”
Adding that the 2020 presidential election was near, he said: “Let’s all mobilise. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there.”
Lee shared the award for best adapted screenplay with Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott for their work on BlackKklansman. The film tackles the extremism of the far right in the US and includes footage of Trump after the violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia
Lee appeared on stage in a purple suit and shared a hug with Samuel L Jackson, who presented the Oscar.