We are only six days into 2019 and we already have a contestant for “Stupidest Comment of the Year By a Fox News Shill.” The lucky winner is a veteran of the State TV Network who has contributed more than his share of idiocy in past years. And even though the year is young and there are no other contestants, this will be difficult to beat as the year goes forward.
Brit Hume is currently a senior political analyst for Fox News. Prior to that, he was the anchor of their signature evening newscast, “Special Report.” He is still seen frequently on Fox as a commentator and a member of news panels. But this Sunday morning he was triggered by an article in the Daily Beast that reported Donald Trump’s remarks to the press as he was departing for Camp David. Trump was asked whether he related to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who he has thrown out of work via his “Trump Shutdown” – the political tantrum he’s throwing to try to get his idiotic vanity wall on the southern border. Trump replied that:
“I can relate, and I’m sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments, they always do, and they’ll make adjustments. People understand exactly what’s going on. But many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”
Let’s put aside the absurdity of Trump’s response that he can in any way relate to the tribulations of people living paycheck to paycheck. And never mind the fact that he’s shown zero consideration for these innocent victims of his ego-driven fetish for a useless and racist wall. And don’t even bother trying to figure out where Trump got the idea that the federal workers who are suffering and risking losing their homes agree that it’s all worth it to construct a wall that will accomplish nothing.
What bothered Hume was the notion that the author of the article wasn’t giving Trump the credit he deserves for the sacrifices he’s making:
I wonder if the author of this story is aware that Trump accepts no salary as president. https://t.co/WTIKcjzfl8
— Brit Hume (@brithume) January 6, 2019
First of all, it isn’t true that Trump accepts no salary as president. He does accept it and then donates it to the federal treasury or some agency thereof. So Trump still gets the tax write-off for benefit making a $200,000 charitable gift. That’s very different than declining the salary.
However, the larger point that Hume is woefully blind to is that foregoing the salary hardly translates into Trump being able to relate to the federal workers who are undergoing severe financial hardships. Trump was born into wealth and never had to struggle to make ends meet. He has millions (he says billions) of dollars in assets and whether or not he takes the presidential salary has no bearing on his welfare. Hume seems to think that Trump is experiencing the very same kinds of trials that the federal employees are. Does he really believe that?
What’s more, Trump’s refusal to pocket his salary doesn’t mean that he isn’t making any money from his stint in the White House. In fact, he’s making more than any other president in history. That’s because from day one he has monetized the presidency for his personal benefit. He schedules conferences by the government and the Republican Party at his hotels. He spends his vacations at his resorts (i.e. Mar-a-Lago, Bedminster, etc.) where the government pays the accommodations of dozens of staffers and Secret Service agents. He has even earned hundreds of thousands of dollars renting golf carts to his security detail when he’s on the links.
Of course, every president incurs costs for travel and vacations. But none of them have paid those costs directly to themselves. Until Donald Trump. And we haven’t even gotten to the money he makes from foreign governments and operatives who are lodging at his hotels for the stated purpose of incurring his favor. That’s potentially a violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which is an impeachable offense.
It’s beyond insane for Trump to suggest that he can relate to people that have been involuntarily furloughed at one of the most expensive times of the year (holidays and taxes). Trump doesn’t have to worry about keeping his residence. He doesn’t have to worry about paying for medicine or healthcare. He isn’t troubled with expenses caring for his children or their schooling. He won’t have any problem buying groceries or clothing. I wonder if Hume, the author of this tweet, is aware of any of that.
So even if Trump wants to pretend that he understands, or can imagine how it feels, he simply cannot relate to it. And sadly, that’s representative of how most of the Trump Republican Nationalist Party regards these matters. So for posting this asinine tweet, Hume shows that he can neither relate nor understand and for that, he takes the lead for this year’s Stupidest Comment.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.