Today, President Trump tweeted out a hilarious meme created by the Daily Wire team. That meme concerned Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) bizarre decision to take a DNA test to confirm her alleged Native American ancestry — a DNA test that showed she could possibly be 1/1024th Native American. Here was Trump’s tweet:
Now, as I’m fond of saying, two things can be true at once. First, it’s true that it would be better for the president of the United States not to troll his political opponents. You can’t imagine Washington, Lincoln, or Reagan doing this.
Second, this is hilarious.
These two things are not mutually exclusive. And in the long pantheon of Trumpian crudities, absurdities, and sins, this tweet doesn’t crack the top 1,000.
Does this mean I’m grading Trump differently than I would, say, Barack Obama? Of course! That’s because Trump is a different human being than Obama. Obama had pretentions at class and glamor, at sophistication and panache. Obama was supposed to be — and saw himself as — a serious person. Trump has never pretended to be a serious person. He’s a reality game show host who plasters his toilets in gold and creates fake magazine covers about himself. If Obama had tweeted this, it would have demonstrated the gap between the reputation he sought and his actual character; for Trump, there is no gap. Obama betraying his image showed that he lied to Americans about who he was, and in the process, degraded the presidency without the full consent of the American people; the American people responded by electing Trump, who has been pretty damned obvious about who he is.
By way of example, on occasion, my two-year-old son hits me on the head while I’m carrying him on my shoulders. This is bad. He receives a punishment. But I don’t treat his behavior the same I way I would identical behavior from my four-year-old daughter. They’re different people, with different capacities, and thus different expectations. The same is true for Trump and Obama. I mocked Obama incessantly when he did an interview with Glozell. That’s because Obama aspired to be a Mandela-like figure. I’m not going to mock Donald Trump for meming on Twitter. That’s because Trump aspired to be a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.
Only one of these men achieved his goal.
So, are we allowed to laugh at Trump’s ridiculous and hilarious trollery? Sure. Should we also acknowledge that it’s bad for the country? Sure. Is it as bad for the country as, say, a Very Serious Person™ like Joe Biden saying that Mitt Romney was going to re-enslave black people in 2012? Not quite.
So let’s get a little perspective and spare ourselves the hysterics. There are plenty of things to get enraged over. Trump laughing at a sitting senator falsifying her Native American story isn’t one of those things, nor is the occasional silly meme a cause for serious consternation over the future of the republic. For the love of God, the same president said yesterday that the Soviets were right to invade Afghanistan. That seems like a far more serious issue over which to get angry.
And it’s okay to laugh sometimes. That meme is funny. End of story.