While May ended with the premiere of Ali Wong’s Netflix comedy, Always Be My Maybe, it also saw the debut of director Ava DuVernay’s gut-wrenching mini-series, When They See Us. Netflix recently self-reported that the Oprah Winfrey-produced series quickly became its most-watched original program in the U.S. since its premiere. While real-life figures like Linda Fairstein have faced new consequences for their involvement in the Central Park 5’s story, however, President Donald Trump has not.
Back in 1989, Trump infamously took out a full-page ad in the New York Daily News that called for the death penalty in relation to the case, which saw several African-American and Hispanic-American teenagers accused of raping a white woman in Central Park. On Tuesday, reporter April Ryan asked Trump during a brief media scrum if he was going to apologize in light of renewed interest in the case after When They See Us. Unsurprisingly, he will not.
“Why do you bring that question up now? It’s an interesting time to bring it up,” he said. “You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt. If you look at Linda Fairstein and if you look at some of the prosecutors, they think that the city never should have settled that case.”
The five men had previously sued the city of New York for damages, and in 2014, were awarded about $40 million total. (They also received an additional $3.9 million in a subsequent case.) Despite these settlements and the DNA exonerations, however, Trump stood by his comments in 1989, repeatedly, whenever the subject was brought up during the 2016 presidential election.
The reactions to Trump’s comments, especially his use of his all-too-common “both sides” argument, was quite swift.