Mick Mulvaney Drapes Tarp Over Own Dignity, Defends Hiding John McCain Boat From Trump
Last week, news broke of the White House's pathetic attempts to hide the USS John McCain, a boat, from Donald Trump, who is the president. David Copperfield refused to help, so they had to resort to tarps. It's truly embarrassing, but don't believe the hype that this is unique to the Trump era. People were plenty petty before Russia hacked our elections. But if something like this had happened with a non-Trump commander in chief, the fallout would've been much different. They'd have found some patsy to take the fall. The president would take responsibility for said patsy's awful behavior -- maybe throw in a "buck stops here" reference -- and we'd all move on. But Trump don't play that.
Thursday, during one of his usual unhinged press exchanges, Trump said whoever was behind Tarp-Gate was "well-meaning." Then he reprised his top five power ballad "All I Wanna Do Is Talk Smack About McCain." Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended this mess during an appearance on "Meet the Press."
MULVANEY: The fact that some 23 or 24-year-old person on the advance team went to that siteand said 'Oh my goodness, there's the John McCain' we all know how the president feels about the former senator, maybe that's not the best backdrop, can somebody look into moving it. That's not an unreasonable thing to ask.
These geniuses have found their unnamed patsy but instead of throwing them under the bus, they're gonna make them employee of the month. What the hell? Mulvaney wants us to believe it's perfectly normal for the president to hold a grudge against a dead man, one so intense he can't bear to see his name on boats. This is bonkers. But Mulvaney wouldn't stop making it worse.
MULVANEY: You're the third or fourth journalist who has asked me is somebody going to get fired for this. It's so silly.
No, what's silly are the next words about to come out of his mouth.
MULVANEY: If you're going to a staff meeting and say, "Look, Chuck is fighting with so-and-so. Let's not sit them together today at the meeting," is that a fireable offence at NBC? Goodness gracious. What kind of place are you folks running over here?
He really thought this argument was a winner. Check and mate, good sir! No wonder McCain voted against confirming Mulvaney to head the Office of Management and Budget. (That's still his actual job, by the way. He's just moonlighting as pretend "acting" chief of staff.)
Mulvaney felt his masterful deflection was so inspired he repeated it on Fox News during an interview with Chris Wallace.
MULVANEY: Does someone get disciplined at Fox News for saying that so and so doesn't want to sit next to so and so at a meeting?
Well, he's got us there. John McCain is dead, so it's a bad idea to seat his corpse next to Trump at a staff meeting or even one of those murder mystery dinner parties. That's just common sense. It's also advisable to cover his dead body with a tarp while it's stationed in Yokosuka Naval Base. No one wants to see that.
Mulvaney claimed the media wants to make this a bigger story than it is. However, it would've gone away if the White House hadn't chosen instead to defend the indefensible. The Navy confirmed Saturday that the petty request was made, but because Trump can't abandon his all-consuming hatred of a dead man, his staff has to go out in public and try to normalize grossness.
A few months ago, USA Today tried to spin Trump's beef with McCain as a decades long feud, citing a jerkass comment private citizen Trump made about the senator in 2000. Then it leapt to 2015, when McCain first earned Trump's ire after he tepidly disagreed with his theory that all Mexicans were rapists. We're really just talking about a few years, and McCain was practicallly on death's door for the bulk of their "feud." This was never a clash of the titans or War of the Roses.
Of course, whatever kind of war it is, McCain (a dead person) is clearly still winning it.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.