Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III detailed a private tour he gave to President TrumpDonald TrumpMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back Republicans eye Nashville crack-up to gain House seat MORE at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in a memoir set for release later this month, The Washington Post reports.

In the memoir, titled “A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama and Trump,” Bunch reportedly wrote that Trump’s team reached out to the museum to arrange a tour for the then-president-elect.


At first, Bunch, who was the founding director of the museum and the first African American to be elected secretary of the Smithsonian Institution this year, wrote that the Trump administration had tried to secure a tour for him on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2017, according to the Post. However, Bunch wrote that the museum arranged another date for the visit after Trump’s team requested that the museum be closed to the public for the tour.

“The notion that we could shut out visitors on the first King holiday since the opening of the museum was not something I could accept,” he reportedly wrote.

Bunch also alleged that the Trump officials told him shortly before his arrival that he “was in a foul mood and that he did not want to see anything ‘difficult,’” according to The Post. 

In another passage detailing the tour, Bunch reportedly took aim at the president for not “paying attention” to an exhibit that was dedicated to the Dutch involvement in the slave trade.

“The president paused in front of the exhibit that discussed the role of the Dutch in the slave trade. As he pondered the label I felt that maybe he was paying attention to the work of the museum. He quickly proved me wrong,” Bunch recalled in the memoir. “As he turned from the display he said to me, ‘You know, they love me in the Netherlands.’ All I could say was let’s continue walking.” 

“There is little I remember about the rest of the hour we spent together. I was so disappointed in his response to one of the greatest crimes against humanity in history,” he continued, according to the Post. “Here was a chance to broaden the views and the understanding of the incoming president and I had been less successful than I had expected.” 

Bunch also wrote about what he referred to as the administration’s "combative relationship with many in the African American community" in the memoir.

“His administration’s combative relationship with many in the African American community — from his feuding with Congressman John LewisJohn LewisThis Juneteenth, will Congress finally ensure Black freedom? Black lawmakers warn against complacency after Juneteenth victory Commemorating Juneteenth: Learn from the past to improve the present and future MORE .... to the attacks on professional athletes, the overwhelming number of those singled out for critical tweets were African American, to his refusal to criticize the white supremacists whose rioting in Charlottesville, Virginia led to the death of Heather Heyer — have deepened the racial divide,” he wrote, according to the newspaper.

“Many visitors have told me that since the election in 2016, the museum has gained even greater significance. To some, visiting the museum allows them to find the solace, inspiration and hope that the current poisonous political partisanship and racial antipathy will one day be overcome,” he continued.

Discussing the tour in an interview with the Post last week, Bunch said that “there is no doubt in my mind there were things he learned, engaged with.”

“What I hope is that the Smithsonian can play that role in a time of partisanship and division. I’m not saying who caused it, but the reality is, it’s a different time. And so I just want us to play that role,” he added. 

The Hill reached out to the White House and the Smithsonian for comment.