On August 15, 2017, in the wake of – and I can’t even believe I’m saying this – a fatal Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Donald Trump convened a press conference ostensibly to talk to reporters about infrastructure.
Suffice to say infrastructure ended up getting short shrift.
The President, at wit’s end with questions about his handling of the Charlottesville incident, had a meltdown on national television. Pressed by reporters to definitively denounce white nationalists, Trump proceeded to harangue the room with a series of bizarre rants about everything from statues to American history.
At one point during that exceedingly unfortunate episode, Trump demanded that reporters admit to being fans of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, only to remind everyone that both men owned slaves. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
Fast forward 13 months and Donald Trump again invoked George Washington, this time during a wild press conference that found the President attempting (unsuccessfully) to blame everyone but Brett Kavanaugh for the alleged misdeeds of Brett Kavanaugh.
Let’s listen in as the current President of the United States questions the integrity of America’s first president who, Trump recalls, “had some really bad things in his past”. Take it away, sir:
Got that? If we dug up George Washington, reanimated him and nominated him for the Supreme Court, Democrats would do everything in their power (“100%”) to keep Washington off the bench.
And no, the absurdity did not stop there – not by a long shot.
Asked (by a woman) if Kavanaugh’s accusers “are liars”, Trump said it’s too early to tell, but what he does know is that Michael Avenatti is a “low life”.
By some miracle, Jim Acosta managed to get a question in and when he implored the President to call on female reporters, Trump lost his cool. Have a look:
Asked whether the fact that he is himself the subject of similar sexual misconduct allegations might render him unable to address the Kavanaugh situation from an objective point of view, the President called 80% of the room “fake”, accused a reporter of taking too long to ask the question and then not-so-politely instructed her to “sit down”:
But this press conference wasn’t all about accusations of sexual assault by a sitting president and his SCOTUS nominee. Trump also fielded questions on, for instance, his baseless allegations that China is attempting to meddle in the midterm elections.
Pressed by Eamon Javers for evidence to support that claim, Trump refused to provide any. But he did say that (and I quote) “according to Mr. Pillsbury, China has total respect for Donald Trump’s ahh-very large ahhh-brain”:
Asked about the 25th Amendment (and, implicitly, the notion that press conferences like this one might make it relevant or even urgent), Trump delivered whatever you want to call this:
Finally, here’s the President talking about “the Russians”:
It’s hard to know precisely what to say about all of that. This is yet another instance of Trump transcending even the best satirists’ abilities when it comes to lampooning him.
Reality is indeed stranger than fiction. Satire is dead. And on and on.
One thing we can all say with absolute certainty: If George Washington was watching this spectacle somewhere, it’s safe to say he wasn’t amused.