Trump has decided to say it’s OK
Obama was born in the US of A.
Yet lots of his faithful still doubt it, I fear.
Now, where did they get such a crazy idea?
For satirists, it seemed there was nothing new about Trump. The New York Times Borowitz Report headlined variations on well-established themes: “ Trump says ordering people at rallies to attack one another has prepared him to be commander-in-chief”; “Obama pays Mexico 5 billion dollars to keep Donald Trump”; Trump says “Obama vacationing instead of running ISIS”; “Endorsement of Trump to play key role in Christie’s insanity defense”; etc. Cartoonists and on-line magazines poured out their variations on similar themes. Trump was depicted as racist (“Yet We Klan”) and an egomaniac (Where Bernie says “We”, Trump brays ME”). And all with the somewhat desperate sense that nothing they could suggest could compare for sheer outlandish absurdity with the reality of Trump himself.
But then Trump opened up a totally new and uncharacteristic area of controversy. He retracted one of his signature accusations – that Obama had not been born in the US and thus was not really the President. At one of the White House Correspondents’ dinners Obama had mocked Trump to his face on the issue, and Trump had sat stone-faced while the assembled press laughed at him uproariously. Still he had never retracted until, much to the surprise of the many Trump followers who believed the canard, he did so in September, 2016, with the admission: “President Obama was born in the United States. Period.”
Actually he did not quite lay the matter the rest. For his statement also included another bizarre, unfounded accusation: “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.” Indeed, back in 2008 some Hillary supporters spread the birther rumor. But not Clinton herself.
So Borowitz headlined: “ Emotional Obama tearfully thanks Trump for giving him citizenship…It’s great to be an American at last.” And The Onion reported the reaction of disillusioned Trump supporters: “Now Trump is in on it? This goes deeper than I thought”. and “This isn’t the belligerent maniac I voted for in the primary”. Even so, as The Onion suggested, “Diehard Trump supporters confirm rest of nation should stop wasting time trying the reach them. If anything could change our minds it would have happened by now.”
Of course, if you’re NBC’s late night host, Jimmy Fallon, you can avoid all these caustic arguments by simply being your genial self when chatting with Trump on his show and ruffling Trump’s hair. Satire, of course, is not Fallon’s style of comedy. It was all so convivial, in fact, that Samantha Bee was among several in the industry fulminating against Fallon’s friendly banter. Fallon, she said, is so likeable that “if he thinks a race-baiting demagogue is OK, that gives permission to millions of Americans to also think that.”
Meantime, Clinton also appeared in various talk shows, and had to take her share of unfriendly satire from cartoonists and online critics. Her reluctance to discuss fully her health problems and her e-mail practices were perennial targets. And her dismissal of half of Trump’s supporters as “deplorables” provoked the availability for sale on Amazon of T-shirts coffee mugs, and car decals emblazoned with: “Proud Member of the Basket of Deplorables, Trump 2016,