The Fox Didn’t Want Those Grapes Anyway
Trump is going to spin his refusal to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner as “thumbing his nose at the fake news,” or maybe “I have real work to do, I don’t have time for this nonsense,” or something. The truth is, this is absolutely killing him – for many reasons.
1. This whole miserable era of our lives started at the WHCD in 2011, when Seth Meyers (and Obama himself) tore Trump into small pieces, and then tore those small pieces into smaller pieces, and then threw those pieces up into the air like LeBron James throwing chalk before a home game. Watch that video, and look at Trump’s face – the utter lack of self-awareness, the complete inability to engage in the smallest bit of humility. What a doof. Meyers later reached out to Trump in a “it’s all in good fun!” kind of a way, and Trump laughed and shook his hand and said “Hey, bud, no worries! You were funny and I can laugh at myself!” Just kidding. He was a sour asshole.
2. So: this WHCD was supposed to be his great revenge. (Well, winning the Presidency was his first revenge, this was to be the second.) He wanted to stroll in there triumphantly and lay waste to the haters and losers who mocked him five years ago. This was gonna be some real “Kill Bill”-type revenge stuff – I’m the goddamn President, and now I’m up here, and you have to laugh my MY jokes and respect ME. But he can’t. He has absolutely painted himself into a corner by making the media the enemy in an attempt to explain away the absurd and possibly treasonous actions of his campaign and administration. No way he can set foot in that room. He’ll be torn apart again.
3. And make no mistake – this pains him. Because all the man wants is attention. He positively lives for the warm glow of suck-uppy fawning. He got a lot of it from his campaign rallies – which is certainly why he continues to have them long after they make any sense at all – but those are just people. Suck-uppy fawning from the poorly-educated is fine. It’ll get him through the day. But it’s no substitute for suck-uppy fawning from rich society elites. That’s the good stuff. That’s the pure blood, for this particular vampire.
4. Trump is dying to be in that room, in a tuxedo, holding court and watching the grimacing faces of every important media figure in America as he lays waste to their sad attempts to take him down. But he can’t. Because, first of all, he is an absolutely terrible joke deliverer, as his Al Smith Dinner speech proved beyond the shadow of a doubt. And second, because he’s a wimp who can’t take the heat. Bill Clinton attended this event at the height of the Lewinsky scandal, for goodness sake. Trump is scared, and once he realized things weren’t going to go his way, he did what wimps do: he wimped out.
5. There is a legitimate argument to be made over whether the WHCD should even exist – it’s kind of gross, and unseemly, and certainly raises questions about whether the press who are supposed to inform the public about the goings-on of its elected officials should be co-opted by hob-nobbing with those self-same officials at a black tie gala. But I kind of like it, because it shows that America has a sense of humor about itself, and that its leaders can take a punch and laugh it off. It’s an event that reminds us how lucky we are not to have a thin-skinned dictator running the country – the kind of tyrant who throws people in jail for criticizing him. The problem is, we now have one of those thin-skinned dictators in power. He can’t throw everyone in jail for making fun of him, so he’s doing the next-best thing: he’s taking his ball and going home.