This past summer when “President” Trump claimed a Mexican judge couldn’t do his job fairly because of his race, Paul Ryan asserted that this was the definition of racism. Yes, that Paul Ryan, who traded his integrity for the House leadership.
In the nineties, black employees at Trump’s Atlantic City casino were ordered off the floor when Donald and Ivana arrived. And at least one big-time gambler would not sit at a table with black card-dealers. Trump had them replaced. Yes, that Trump, the “president.”
Referring to his former TV show, Trump said “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me—consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected. A sexual dynamic is always present between people, unless you are asexual.”
In a 2006 interview with Howard Stern, Trump called his daughter Ivanka ‘voluptuous, adding “If [she] weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
These are all old stories, stories that almost 63 million Americans thought were too trivial to consider at the polls.
Then, last Friday a Saturday Night Live regular, Katie Rich (whom I wouldn’t know if she were standing outside my office window staring in) tweeted a comment in which she predicted that Trump’s son Barron would become the nation’s first home-school shooter. There was immediate outrage at the insensitivity and crudeness of attacking an innocent child. When I heard about it I shook my head and thought, she should have practiced some restraint.
But I’ve had four days to mull this over and I think SNL spit the bit on this one. Certainly we would like our comedians to be tasteful and considerate, but those restrictions never penned in Richard Pryor or George Carlin or Ellen DeGeneres or Ricky Gervais or any number of comic geniuses who have made us feel, at times, a bit uncomfortable. Sometimes they missed, but not out of meekness or fear. Ms. Rich may never reach that pantheon, and she may have missed this time—but she apologized for it. I felt uncomfortable with her tweet, but that’s on me. Failing is her punishment.
(It’s odd, too, but unless I missed it, the “president” seems to have ignored the incident—maybe if it’s not a personal attack on him, all bets are off? He has belittled all three of his wives on many occasions: there seems to be no familial loyalty to anyone but his daughter and son-in-law—his business associates.)
For well over a year we have allowed too many of Trump’s insults and slurs to go unchallenged. We’ve made excuses for him that sound emptier every day. Now when Spicer and Conway handle his dirty work for him, we excuse them for just “doing their job,” but there are other jobs they could do without selling out like Paul Ryan and the rest of the toadies and sycophants that constitute the “new” Congress. Until we hold them all to account for the tasteless comments their leader makes daily and without apology, or until the comments themselves stop, it seems unduly cruel to flaunt all our newfound propriety in the face of an entertainer who, if she misspoke, has already been punished.