President Donald Trump’s new thing appears to be using implausible claims of “sarcasm” to explain away his embarrassing public statements.
On Sunday, for the second time in three days, Trump said something ridiculous, was widely mocked for it, and then tried to walk it back by saying his original comment was meant sarcastically. Notably, the most recent incident came amid a full-day Twitter meltdown that stood out even by Trump’s standards.
That meltdown happened on a day in which more than 1,000 Americans died from the coronavirus. It was also first lady Melania Trump’s birthday. But after attending a virtual Catholic Mass, President Donald Trump spent his Sunday raging on Twitter.
Perhaps his most unhinged tweet of the day came in a thread in which he demanded that reporters who had received “Noble Prizes” for their work on the Russia investigation have them taken away. Not only was Trump confusing Nobel Prizes with the Pulitzer Prize — an award given to journalists and writers — but he managed to pull off two errors in a single word by misspelling “Nobel.”
Trump concluded this thread by basically trying to crowdsource frivolous lawsuits against media outlets that reported stories about the Russia investigation he didn’t like. Here’s a screencap:
The president is now mixing up Pulitzer prizes with Nobel prizes pic.twitter.com/LP26W3hSFs— Allan Smith (@akarl_smith) April 26, 2020
Trump is shameless about many things, but these tweets apparently crossed a line even for him. He ended up deleting them about three hours later — but in doing so he posted another insisting people just weren’t picking up on his “sarcasm.”
“Does anybody get the meaning of what a so-called Noble (not Nobel) Prize is, especially as it pertains to Reporters and Journalists? Noble is defined as, ‘having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals. Does sarcasm ever work?” he wrote.
In this case, it definitely didn’t. And if Trump really meant to be sarcastic, then he had no reason to delete the tweets.
Does anybody get the meaning of what a so-called Noble (not Nobel) Prize is, especially as it pertains to Reporters and Journalists? Noble is defined as, “having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.” Does sarcasm ever work?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2020
This disaster happened just 48 hours after another gaffe resulted in Trump using a “sarcasm” self-defense.
On Friday, as Trump was widely mocked for comments he made during a briefing the day before about the possibility that disinfectant injections could be a miracle cure for the coronavirus, he claimed he was just being “sarcastic” when he made them — even though video of the briefing showed beyond a shadow of doubt he was lying.
Here's a mashup of Trump claiming today he was just asking "a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room" when he mused about disinfectant injections as a possible coronavirus miracle cure, followed by the original clip showing beyond a doubt that he was not doing that. pic.twitter.com/wby4ucd59Q— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 24, 2020
Not only is Trump so undisciplined that he’ll publicly riff on the possible therapeutic qualities of bleach or post woefully ignorant tweets about “Noble Prizes” to his 79 million followers without having someone first take a look at them, but he’s incapable of just admitting he messed up. And he also clearly wants to talk about anything but the ongoing public health crisis taking place across the country.
Trump’s tweets paint a picture of an extremely undisciplined man
Trump posted more than 40 tweets or retweets just in the 12 hours between noon Sunday and midnight. The word “coronavirus” was mentioned in one of them.
Trump’s Sunday of tweets began with a post in which he insisted, ridiculously, that “[t]he people that know me and know the history of our Country say that I am the hardest working President in history.” (In reality, despite having very little on his schedule these days, Trump reportedly can’t be bothered to attend the White House coronavirus task force meetings and hence shows up for the briefings unprepared.)
The people that know me and know the history of our Country say that I am the hardest working President in history. I don’t know about that, but I am a hard worker and have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history. The Fake News hates it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2020
Trump followed that up with another thread in which he falsely claimed he hasn’t “left the White House in many months,” even though just last month he went on a weekend-long vacation at Mar-a-Lago that included a golf outing with the Washington Nationals. He’s also traveled to eight political rallies since the first US coronavirus cases were reported on January 20.
That thread concluded with Trump lamenting that “I will often be in the Oval Office late into the night & read & see that I am angrily eating a hamburger & Diet Coke in my bedroom. People with me are always stunned. Anything to demean!” (Trump originally misspelled “hamburger” as “hamberger” before deleting and reposting.)
....schedule and eating habits, written by a third rate reporter who knows nothing about me. I will often be in the Oval Office late into the night & read & see that I am angrily eating a hamburger & Diet Coke in my bedroom. People with me are always stunned. Anything to demean!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2020
After posting a string of tweets attacking Fox News for not covering him in a fawning enough manner, Trump went on a retweet binge where he amplified lies about the Russia investigation and a post characterizing his impeachment as a “failed coup attempt.” The president retweeted Candace Owens describing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) as “a racist, radical communist” and shared a deep fake video of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Trump then began his Monday with more overheated attacks on the media.
FAKE NEWS, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2020
And attacks on blue states led by governors who have been critical of the federal coronavirus response.
Why should the people and taxpayers of America be bailing out poorly run states (like Illinois, as example) and cities, in all cases Democrat run and managed, when most of the other states are not looking for bailout help? I am open to discussing anything, but just asking?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2020
With White House officials reportedly hoping to curtail Trump’s public appearances after the disinfectant injections fiasco, the president may be relying even more on Twitter to get his message out. The one he’s conveying now is of a president too preoccupied with his personal grievances to spend much time thinking about the pandemic, let alone responding to it.