Tavis SmileyPresident Barack Obama has received widespread praise for his impromptu remarks today on race and the trial of George Zimmerman.

Rev. Al Sharpton called the president comments “significant” and “much needed.”

Trayvon Martin’s parents said the president made a “beautiful tribute to their boy” and shared that they were “honored and moved” by his words.

However, talk show host Tavis Smiley, one of Obama’s most vocal African-American critics, was quick to dismiss the president on Twitter.

“Took POTUS almost a week to show up and express mild outrage. And still, it was as weak as pre-sweetened Kool-Aid,” tweeted Smiley.

The backlash to Smiley’s broadside was just as swift, with numerous Twitter users calling him out for being “pathetic.”

“I’m sending you the transcript as you clearly missed the speech, brother,” wrote MSNBC contributor Angel Rye.

Others told Smiley it’s “time to move on” and mocked him for having his “panties in a bunch” because the president “hasn’t kissed the ring.”

The president told the press that “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

He was very critical of Stand Your Ground laws around the country, challenging their effectiveness and enforcement.

“If Trayvon Martin was of age and was armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk?” Obama asked. “If the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we should examine those laws.”

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

  • StrangerDanger

    Still trying to figure out who actually watches Tavis Smiley’s show . . .

  • Anthony

    The president was right not to immediately jump into the fray. Constitutionally, a criminal case of that nature was not under his direct authority.

    He let the dust settle, and he gave his view as President and an African American.

    Tavis Smiley is getting to the point that I cannot take him seriously.

  • Ash

    I’m all for holding our President accountable but I feels like Tavis just likes to be disagreeable. Obama could say “The sky is blue” and Tavis would find something wrong with the comment. It reminds me of the spin that Fox news puts onto everything.

    As a result, I don’t find his commentary insightful or his criticism credible. He just seems like a egomaniac who wants to be relevant for being the anti-Obama.

  • JJ

    All because he didn’t get invited to the White House. Ego and pride is an ugly thing, he will never have anything good to say about Pres Obama until he gets invited to the White House. I think I read about Tavis’ type in 48 Laws of Power (he will NEVER let go after a slight to his ego).

  • Bell

    I am sick of Travis. I think he realizes when Obama was elected that no one cares for his pseudo revolutionary stance anymore. He cares about money in his pocket plain and simple. He has made a business out of attacking Obama as if he thinks he is the voice of Black America. I can’t stand Tavis and his lisp. The speech was graceful and classy. Something Tavis is not. Besides, Obama is the President of the United States, he has to be very strategic on when and how he delivers emotional speeches like this. I loved the speech. Tavis: sit down somewhere.

  • Anonymous 417

    Tavis … please sit down.

  • Anonymous 417

    Agreed. I, too, loved the speech. In fact, I saved the transcript to read again later. As I was listening to it, I thought how eloquently our president described what it’s like to be black in this country. And, one of phrases I’m pleased to hear him say — but sad to be reminded of — was America’s “violent past.” We know what that means — all the years of slavery, abuse, mistreatment and vitriol attacks on black folks. Like Sharpton said, the president’s remarks were “much-needed” and, in my opinion, perfectly timed.

  • Marisa

    Tavis heres a Snickers because you get angry when you get hungry oh and here’s a seat to go with the Snickers.

  • B

    Tavis on the GZ Verdict & Why he can say whatever he wants! Go Tavis speak truth to power!

    “I think this is for many Americans, George, just another piece of evidence of the incontrovertible contempt that this nation often shows and displays for black men,” Smiley said on ABC News’ “This Week.”

    “Something is wrong in this nation, 50 years after the March on Washington… when adults can racially profile children,” he continued. “Trayvon Martin was a child racially profiled and gunned down.” Smiley added that in his own experience, most black people he knew had predicted that the verdict would turn out exactly as it did.

    Panelist Dan Abrams said that there were two issues at hand, and that the question of “what is wrong with our society” was separate from “what happened in that courtroom.”

    “But every time we get to that nexus,” Smiley interjected, “we never seem to accept the fact that race in this country is real, that color will get you killed and every time you have one of these cases… someone can always explain away why this person got off, why this person was not found guilty and what we have is a bunch of dead black men.”

  • Hailey

    This type of stuff is what bothers me about us. Times like these black people need to stand together.

  • Not again

    Tavis should take Kayne West’s words and “don’t talk ever again”.

  • http://BlusBlues.wordpress.com Cyan

    A fight between grasshoppers is a joy to the crow. ~ Lesotho proverb

  • http://theportalist.wordpress.com ejoycem

    Tavis is becoming as irrelevant as Rush Limbaugh, but he and Cornell have books to sell. Their only selling strategy is controversy. Being backed by Walmart a current/former ALEC member(funneled through Feeding America). he has to continue providing the services purchased.

  • Emme

    It seems he is mistaking heckling Obama for holding him accountable.

  • rachel

    I agree with Tavis wholeheartedly. Ever since the President has been in office he has never seriously addressed any issues/problems or concerns that Blacks in this country have faced. He received overwhelming black votes yet he has not formally addressed the Congressional Black Congress. He was swift to bail out Wallstreet and the banks. He moved with lightning speed to get gay legislation passed, but nothing for Blacks. He finally decides to open his mouth about Treyvon and it took him what seemed like weeks to say what he said. It was if it was the most painful thing for him to do (acknowlege that black people are treated unjustly).

  • B

    Right on!

  • Nyala

    I’d have to lightly disagree here, Obama may hold the title, but remember who holds the real power – Congress. And who is in Congress? Mostly white men. Congress blocks almost everything that Obama tries to propose, with ludicrous reasons. I think they hold the actual ability to do anything anymore, and they seem intent on making it seem like Obama is making little to no progress whatsoever.

  • Pepper

    And Tavis knows about “Kool-Aid”. Especially the sweet version

  • Who’sthatGirl

    I agree with you too. I hate that people always say he’s not the president of black America because it stops us from pushing for things that affect our community. Obama always distance himself from black issues. I understand why, but I don’t support it.

  • Pepper

    Rachel: And EXACTLY / SPECIFICALLY what do you want President Obama to do for Black people? Guarantee all Black people a job? Hard to do since he doesn’t own, nor run every company/corporation in the country. Affirmative Action is already in place that dictates that companies have to hire a certain number of people of color. And I assume you are aware that congress, (and I believe the supreme court) is trying to do away with that (said that Affirmative Action is no longer needed). Perhaps write off all Black people’s student loans? That’s not going to happen because if he did that S would hit the fan. Reparations perhaps (now that’s a thought). Perhaps he should give us all 40 Acres and a Mule. I’m serious when I say EXACTLY what do you think he should do for Black people?? Suggestions welcomed

  • Pepper

    I think Tavis’ comments on George Stephanopoulos’ show were prolific (and I’m glad he said what he said on George S.’s show). I also think that agree with Tavis, or not regarding what he said about President Obama (and I don’t agree with him on this particular issue); he most certainly has the right to his opinion just like every one else. For the record: I’m still trying to determine what Tavis, and Cornell’s Poor Peoples / Poverty Tour accomplished(?) Does anyone know? It’s my understanding that the tour was to bring attention to poor people. My bigger point is that we already knew that there are lots of poor people out there. Always has been, and always will be. So what was the real point of that tour?

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    “SPECIFICALLY what do you want President Obama to do for Black people?”

    treat us with the same sensitivity he does gays?

  • Merci

    I agree with most of what you said. However, it is ok for someone to process the event and take time to formulate their thoughts. I see no problem in the amount of time it took for him to speak.

  • KB

    So guess what most white people think about Black people is true..all we want is a hand out. Wow.

  • BeanBean

    To me it seems like whenever something like this happens, there’s always a few blacks that run over and try to stand with whites. It’s kinda like they’re trying to get in good with massa, so they don’t get punished like all the other rebellious slaves.

  • colin

    Tavis and west thanks for committing to the cause. We all cant idolize the man publicly.

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