- REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
- Michelle Wolf said mean things, but she was hired to entertain.
- Donald Trump doesn’t have the same excuse.
- The comedian’s comments were cruel, but in the current political climate, they were far from unusual.
Since the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, pockets of people from all across the political spectrum have criticized Michelle Wolf – and the organization that invited her – insisting that the the comedian’s jokes were cruel and unusual.
She targeted, among others, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Ivanka Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, the mainstream media, and President Donald Trump himself.
But while Wolf’s rhetorical barbs might have indeed been cruel, in our current political climate they are certainly not unusual.
After making a joke about her own genitals, Wolf warned that the correspondents’ association “should have done more research before you asked me to do this.”
That may be correct. Peter Baker of The New York Times was certainly right when he tweeted: “I don’t think we advanced the cause of journalism tonight.”
But the overwhelming condemnation that’s been heaped upon Wolf is a bit much. Sanders might not have personally spent the last few months making fun of poor countries, the disabled, or the media, but she works for a man and an administration that has made a regular habit out of being unnecessarily obnoxious.
I think the best take on the controversy came from Bill Kristol, the founder of the Weekly Standard, who tweeted that “both of these are true: the half hour performance of comedienne Michelle Wolf was vulgar, unseemly, & damaging to our civic discourse. The three-year performance of candidate and president Donald Trump has been vulgar, unseemly & infinitely more damaging to our civic discourse.”
We can all acknowledge that Wolf’s remarks were mean-spirited, but she was hired to be funny and she was that in spades. An administration that throws stone after stone shouldn’t garner any sympathy when its glass house shatters from return fire.