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Trump Manages to Make the Roseanne Controversy About Him

President Trump responds to Roseanne racist tweet

You’re shocked—I know, shocked—that Donald Trump would seize upon a racist pop culture controversy and find a way to make it about Donald Trump.

Yesterday, when long-suffering dispenser of misinformation Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about Trump’s reaction to the Roseanne racism furor, she attempted to imply that Trump had bigger international and domestic fish to fry: “The president is focused on North Korea. He’s focused on trade deals. And he’s focused on rebuilding our military, the economy. And that’s what he’s spending his time on; not responding to other things.”

This would be a somewhat reasonable explanation for how any other president in the United States’ history might be spending his day, rather than personally responding to a controversy in the entertainment world. But this is Donald Trump, and Roseanne Barr has been one of his most famous and vocal supporters/peddlers of trash dog-whistle conspiracy theories. After Roseanne scored epic ratings in its reboot debut, Trump personally called Barr to congratulate her (and no doubt himself). You know that he was slavishly following the unfolding events on Fox News and Twitter instead of thinking about “rebuilding the military.”

It was only going to be a matter of time before Trump responded to what happened with Roseanne. Would he take this time to denounce racism and encourage togetherness? Would he denounce Roseanne’s views, call them unacceptable, and make it clear to his followers that such opinions are unwelcome and abhorrent? Hahaha, yeah right. This is the guy who said that white supremacists had some “good people” involved in Charlottesville.

“Gee,” wrote the President of the United States of America, where was his call of apology from Disney CEO Bob Iger for the “HORRIBLE” things that ABC has said about him? (Presumably, ABC news doing its job and reporting on his actions and activities, and the ongoing, never-ending scandals of his administration?)

This is a gross tweet even for Trump, because not only is he wildly out of bounds, but by mentioning Roseanne’s remarks but not rebuking them at all, he’s implicitly stating that what she did was fine. Is he outraged by what she said? Not one bit, this tweet implies. He’s upset that he hasn’t been afforded the same treatment from Disney/ABC as a member of the public and respected former Obama advisor who was subjected to a racist attack by an ABC TV star.

I bet Sarah Huckabee Sanders wishes that she’d called in sick today.

(images: Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Twitter)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.