This is what I mean about the degradation of the presidency

This was my initial reaction to the news about Donald Trump’s dinner party at the White House:

But then I thought, that’s not really fair to the Joker, et al. In their universe, they were the crème de la crème of Gotham criminal society, tops in their field, the elite.

These folks are anything but that. It’s more like Trump assembled this group in an attempt to look classy by comparison. And it almost worked.

The Batman analogy having failed, I’m at a loss. And I’m not going to let myself go down this road, no matter the temptation:

But folks, I will say that, for those of you who still don’t understand, this is the problem with Donald Trump being president — his desecration of the office. All other problems — the cluelessness, the lying, the utter disregard for ethics, the open hostility to wisdom and experience, the stunning carelessness with policy — spring from that source. It’s the shameful American love affair with anti-intellectualism made flesh.

A dinner table at the White House should have the wit of the Algonquin Round Table, tempered by the nobility of purpose of the original King Arthur version.

Instead, look what we’ve got. This is the level the presidency has sunk to.

Evenings at the White House should look like this:

Dinner for Nobel laureates, 29 April 1962.

Dinner for Nobel laureates, 29 April 1962.

Not like this:


18 thoughts on “This is what I mean about the degradation of the presidency

  1. Doug Ross

    Meanwhile in the world that matters outside of the Obsessive Trump Disorder folks:

    “President Donald Trump has welcomed an Egyptian-US charity worker, whom he helped release after nearly three years detained in Cairo, to the White House. The president said he was “very happy” that Aya Hijazi, 30, was flown back to the US on Thursday night. Ms Hijazi, whose charity cared for street children, faced child abuse charges branded false by rights groups. Her release was reportedly agreed before Mr Trump met Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi this month.”

    The Art of the Deal guy was able to get something done that Obama failed to do.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, he’s a regular Jesse Jackson

      That settles it! We have an anecdote that shows Trump getting one good thing done (a good thing that The Washington Post led with today, so it’s not like it was being ignored), so he must be 100 percent OK! What have we been worried about?…

      1. Doug Ross

        I would expect the family of the released woman don’t care who Trump takes a photo with.

        But again you and I are different people. You are concerned with words and images. I look at results. So far Trump has been fine for a non-politician.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          What?!?!!? What!?!?!? WHAT!?!?!? “FINE!?!?!”

          If, by “for a nonpolitician” you mean “a malevolent ignoramus who understands nothing about the office or public policy or the fundamental principles that underlie this republic, a person who should never, ever have been entrusted with such awesome national and global power” I guess you’re right….

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I’m sputtering here. I’m agog. I’m like Ferris Bueller when Cameron said that he hadn’t seen anything good today. I’m breaking the fourth wall and looking directly into the camera, silently begging the audience with my eyes to assure me I’m not crazy…

          2. Doug Ross

            You’ve spent the better part of six months obsessing about Trump… Every day, more and more people are just going back to living their lives and not wasting time and energy analyzing every single word and tweet. Find a new hobby. You’ll be much happier.

              1. Doug Ross

                Ok, if you think your blog posts will somehow fix what you think is wrong, keep them coming. I’m sure there is some combination of words that will bring Trump down.

          3. Harry Harris

            Try not to hold back so, Brad. Aren’t there some harsh words you’re just aching to let out?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Not at all! I was in a perfectly affable, equable mood, as evidenced by the Ferris Bueller clip.

              I’ll let you you know when my mood can be described using one of my favorite Twain quotes:

              And now that my temper is up, I may as well go on and abuse everybody I can think of.

              That does happen from time to time…

  2. bud

    On the other side we have Neil Gorsuch casting the deciding vote to have an AR man brutally killed before DNA testing could be done. Plus there were issues about his mental competency and competence of his lawyer. Elections have consequences. This is a bad one.

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    I don’t know as much about this Kid Rock person as I do the other two. Nugent has been widely regarded as a lunatic since the ’70s. What was his masterpiece? “Cat Scratch Fever?

    Sarah Palin is Sarah Palin.

    And Kid Rock… I know one thing about him: He’s responsible for the execrable “All Summer Long,” which tormented me repeatedly when it would come on and for a brief moment I thought I was going to hear “Werewolves of London”…

    I don’t torment people like that. Here you go, dear readers…

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