michelle wolf, white house correspondents dinner, whcd, trump, michigan, speech

What Was Trump Up to While the Media Was Busy Clutching Their Pearls Over Michelle Wolf’s WHCD Speech?

If you guessed it has something to do with racism & xenophobia, congratulations, you win and we all lose.

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Over the weekend, the vast majority of news outlets were focused on Michelle Wolf and her opening speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. While they were busy analyzing whether or not she should apologize for insults she never made about Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ appearance and ignoring all of the salient points she actually did make about the media’s complicity in Trump’s eroding of the free press (not to mention Flint’s continuing lack of clean water), what was Trump himself up to? A lot.

Trump, of course, refused to attend the WHCD (again), opting instead to give a speech in Washington, Michigan. In between repeatedly bragging about how wide a margin he won the state by (despite the fact that the election happened nearly a year and a half ago), demanding credit for facilitating talks between North and South Korea, and ranting about collusion, he spoke mostly about immigration. Like most of Trump’s speeches about immigration, it was built on a foundation of racism and xenophobia.

Take, for example, this incredibly bizarre moment, in which he asks if there are “any Hispanics in the room.” The crowd booed at that question. That’s incredibly upsetting. Trump didn’t ask if there were undocumented immigrants in the room. He asked about Hispanics. And his supporters booed. Keep that in mind the next time your uncle or whatever on Facebook asks for “proof” that Trump supporters are racist.

As for Trump, mentioning the existence of Hispanic people apparently reminded him that black people also exist, and he started talking about how Kanye “gets it.” In an 80-minute rambling speech, this moment really stuck out as especially strange.

From there, he launched into talking about the border wall, and how Mexico is going to pay for it, and how it will stop undocumented immigrants from voting Democrats into office, a thing that has been proven to not actually be a reality. Still, Trump insists that “All of these people pouring across are gonna vote Democrat.” He says, “They do it for a lot of reasons. A lot of times they don’t even know what they’re doing or why they’re doing it, but we have to have borders and we need it fast.” He also perpetuated the false notion that immigration is currently based on “some sort of random lottery system.”

What else was Trump up to this weekend? Well, on Friday, he told a group of Paralympic athletes that they’re “hard to watch.”

In a speech meant to honor the athletes of the Olympics and Paralympics, he said, “What happened with the Paralympics was so incredible and so inspiring to me. And I watched — it’s a little tough to watch too much ― but I watched as much as I could.”

Here are just a few other recent actions from the Trump administration and other GOP leaders that didn’t get the tiniest fraction of the coverage that Michelle Wolf’s jokes did:

  • He signed the incredibly controversial and destructive Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) bill into law. The bill had been heavily opposed by sex workers, who say it will endanger not just their livelihoods, but their lives.
  • Meanwhile:

  • Also, apparently that whole “free press” thing wasn’t needed anymore anyway.

In other GOP news:

Also, there have been 12 school shootings since Parkland, but sure, let’s talk more about Michelle Wolf’s joke about Sanders’ eyeliner was a compliment or an insult. (Plot twist: It was neither! The “joke” was about how much Sanders lies from the White House podium.)

(image: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Netflix)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.