Politics & Policy

Don’t Be Mad at Wolf’s Sanders Jokes if You’ve Never Been Mad at Trump

Michelle Wolf performs at the White House Correspondents Dinner, April 28, 2018. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)
He has gone just as low, but she’s a comedian, not president, so she does deserve a bit more leeway when it comes to making jokes.

At Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner, comedian Michelle Wolf made some jokes about White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that have a lot of people, particularly on the right, very upset.

In case you missed it, Wolf compared Sanders to Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale and then said she’s a liar:

Every time Sarah steps up to the podium, I get excited because I’m not really sure what we’re going to get: you know, a press briefing, a bunch of lies, or divided into softball teams. “It’s shirts and skins, and this time, don’t be such a little b—-, Jim Acosta.”

I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. Like, she burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it; maybe it’s lies.

It’s probably lies.

Wolf then continued to suggest that Sanders was a sort of “Uncle Tom but for white women.”

Sanders was visibly upset the entire time, and many people on the right rushed to her defense — saying that Wolf’s jokes were inappropriate and an outrage. Here’s the thing, though: Many of those same people have absolutely no problem with it when President Trump makes fun of people, no matter how low the blow.

Yes. In case you’ve forgotten, Donald Trump also really likes to make fun of people. On the campaign trail, he referred to Marco Rubio as “Little Marco” and Jeb Bush as “low-energy Jeb.” During a debate, he readily agreed that he’d compare Rosie O’Donnell to a “fat pig,” “slob,” “dog,” and “disgusting animal.” He mocked Carly Fiorina, saying “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” During his presidency, he made fun of Mika Brzezinski, saying he once saw her “bleeding badly from a face-lift.” The list goes on and on.

If you find yourself being outraged about Wolf’s jokes about Sanders, I’d suggest you ask yourself: Were you outraged about any of the above jokes as well? If not, why not?

The way it appears now is that when Trump makes fun of Mika’s face, the Right says “Chill, it’s just a joke!” and the Left says it’s an outrage. When Michelle Wolf says Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s eyeshadow is made of lies, the Left says “Chill, it’s just a joke!” and the Right says it’s an outrage. There’s certainly an element of hypocrisy on this issue on both sides, but there’s also one difference: Michelle Wolf is a comedian, not the leader of the free world, so she does deserve a bit more leeway when it comes to making jokes.

Were Wolf’s jokes mean? Absolutely they were. But this was supposed to be a roast, and roasts aren’t supposed to be nice. She made fun of Sanders, sure, but she made fun of a lot of people, including CNN and the liberal media. (For example: “The most useful information on CNN is when Anthony Bourdain tells me where to eat noodles.” And “I know there’s a lot of people that want me to talk about Russia and Putin and collusion, but I’m not going to do that because there’s also a lot of liberal media here. And I’ve never really wanted to know what any of you look like when you orgasm.”) It’s also important to note that when Sanders was asked about Trump’s “face-lift” comments during a press conference, she didn’t express any outrage — in fact, she said that the comments showed that the president was a “fighter.”

You don’t have to like all of her jokes, and you can think that some of them were too mean. You cannot, however, only have a problem with jokes when they’re making fun of the other side and consider yourself to be logically sound.

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