If there is one thing that has been unambiguously affirmed about Donald Trump, it’s that he is a rank coward (with an emphasis on “rank”). It goes back at least to his youth when he evaded the Vietnam draft with five deferments, including one for alleged bone spurs that no doctor has ever confirmed. It is glaringly obvious in his panicky tweetstorms maligning special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. And it has been evident in his avoidance of credible journalists in favor of the Trump-fluffers on Fox News.
So naturally Trump made the courageous decision to skip – for the third consecutive year – the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner (WHCA), a charity event to raise funds for college scholarships. He also issued a decree forbidding any of his staff to attend the affair or any of the after-parties. Trump is a quivering pile of jello when it comes to being the subject of humor, despite his painfully lame attempts to ridicule everyone he thinks isn’t sufficiently worshipful. His skin is so thin that it needs a coat of orange primer before he can go out in a light breeze.
Instead, Trump scheduled a competing event in Wisconsin. It was just another of his tedious cult rallies wherein he repeats the same old talking points and infantile insults he has been sputtering for years. This one was no different. He lied about his critics, invented atrocities by Democrats that never occurred, bragged about imaginary accomplishments, and railed against the press as “the enemy of the people.” You know, same old same old.
Meanwhile, at the WHCA, the guest keynote speaker was historian Ron Chernow. He was selected by the organizers as an alternative to the comedians who traditionally host the event. Trump tweeted last year that he approved of this change and hinted that he might attend. But he chickened out again anyway. Which may be for the best because Chernow was nearly as biting a commentator as any of the recent comedian hosts. Here are a few excerpts from his speech (full video below):
On his replacement of the traditional comedian speaker: “As Will Rogers once observed, ‘People are taking their comedians seriously and their politicians as a joke.’ That certainly describes our topsy-turvy moment.”
On why Trump didn’t attend: “On Tuesday, the President let it be known he wanted members of his administration to stay away from this dinner. At first, I was puzzled by this news. But then I learned a rumor was circulating in Washington that I was going to be reading aloud from the redacted portions of the Mueller report and everything was explained.”
On Trump’s criticism of George Washington’s branding failure: “As best I can tell, Washington committed, only made one major blunder as president. He failed to put his name on Mount Vernon and thereby bungled an early opportunity at branding. Clearly deficient in the art of the deal, the poor man had to settle for the lowly title of Father Of His Country. A very sad story.”
On immigration and Trump’s absurd comment that “the country is full”: “Our founders were highly literate people. And perhaps none more so than one Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant who arrived, thank God, before the country was full. Frankly, I don’t know why they let the guy in. Clearly somebody had slipped up at the southern border.”
On Trump’s notorious and pathological lying: “I applaud any president who aspires to the Nobel prize for peace. But we don’t want one in the running for the Nobel prize for fiction.”
With regard to the last item, Chernow noted that “The thing that worries me most is the sustained assault on truth.” And that is something that should worry all Americans. Along with the assault on women, LGBTQs, African-Americans, Latinos, immigrants, the working class, the environment, our international allies, the media, education, reason, and reality.
The contrast between the intelligent, insightful speech by Chernow, to the boorish, lie-riddled, harangue by Trump is testimony to the depths to which Trump has dragged down oratory and our nation as a whole. It’s troubling that there is anyone who still regards Trump as a statesman, rather than a charlatan who is conspicuously ripping off the dupes who flock around him. And hopefully this long national nightmare will end soon and democracy – and sanity – will prevail.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.