It was hard not to notice the coincidental comments when two powerful politicians said essentially the same thing. President Trump, feeding some tasty raw meat to a loving crowd, reminded them – when it comes to his critics – “I’m President and they’re not.”
A couple of days later, Governor Chris Christie lashed out at New Jersey residents who were furious when he and his family visited a private beach while public beaches were closed. Tone-deaf, they said. Not to Christie, who responded: “Well, I’m sorry, they’re not the governor.” Presumably while consuming peeled grapes dangled into his pie hole by an obliging intern.
Perhaps both men were channeling disgraced President Richard Nixon who, while under investigation for Watergate shenanigans, explained: “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.”
Everyone’s favorite fat-faced fashion icon Kim Jong Un puts it another way. His critics are, well, probably dead, but the ones that aren’t are “hurting the dignity of the Supreme Leadership.”
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Trump and Christie should file that catchy phrase for future use. In fact, I insist.
As for Trump, I’m expecting his next tweet against his detractors to be something on the order of, “I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”
I think Abraham Lincoln was the first to say that.
I’m torn between being gobsmacked by the unfiltered-as-the-water-in-Flint, Mich., honesty of the Trump/Christie comments and being appalled at the whole let-them-eat-cake vibe. It’s exactly how they feel after all. Anyone who gave even a nanosecond of thought to how this would sound when spoken in public and not just in front of the mirror every morning would certainly never say:
“I’m the president and they’re not.”
“They’re not the governor.”
Both statements are clearly derived from the Latin “Nanneous, nanneous, booeus, booeus.
It’s moments like this when I long for the innocent, often completely incoherent misspeaking of George Bush the elder, who left the nation scratching its collective noggin with this nugget one day: “We are blessed. So don’t feel sorry for … don’t cry for me, Argentina. Message: I care.”
Donald J. Trump is a different kind of cat. He doesn’t misspeak so much as rage-tweet his way through the day. Aside from the barbs and the fantastical claims of great things to come, logic has no place in Trump World. For instance, in a March interview with “Time” magazine, he reminded the interviewer he must be doing a good job as president because, well, he won.”
Good to know. By that standard, Barack Obama must’ve been exactly twice as good, am I right?
“Because I won,” isn’t an answer unless you’re an out-of-work coal miner who just won the Mega Millions scratch-off and you’re explaining why you’re spending it all on hookers and weed dispensaries. Asked and answered.
Trump, Christie, and any other hubristic politician who claims their status as elected official gives them the right to behave like boors should remember the cake lady didn’t fare so well in the end.
The writer is a NYT-bestselling author and humor columnist who frequently writes about politics.