President Trump says he was just joking when he boasted recently that the U.S.-Mexican border wall will be built in Colorado.
It’s a brilliant strategy, and I plan to embrace it.
The president was caught up in the moment at a Pennsylvania rally, “And we’re building a wall on the border of New Mexico, and we’re building a wall in Colorado.”
Everyone pounced on the flub, and I empathize.
Every time the wrong “affect” or “effect” slips into my copy, the emails roll in. (Ending sentences with a preposition gets the same response.)
Oh, some people just lose it when “me” and “I” get messed up. Words occasionally get transposed or left out.
When you write for a living, things happen. They’re bound to (happen). Putting out a newspaper is like publishing a small book each day, meaning the likelihood of mistakes increases.
It’s the same with people who live in the public light and give a lot of speeches. The chance for errors is high.
Usually, the mistake-maker just owns up to it.
Not Trump, he prefers a different approach, as shown in a tweet posted later that said he was kidding.
Trump makes it hard to figure out what’s real with him. His free-wheeling style of speech, full of exaggerations, misstatements, bluntness and hyperbole is hard to traverse.
He’s used the “just joking” post-production fix to get out of jams in the past.
His explanation about the 2016 challenge to Russians to find Hillary Clinton’s emails was that it was made “in jest and sarcastically.”
Former Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump “was making a joke” when he said he “loved WikiLeaks” during the campaign.
Another White House official said the president was joking when saying he would pardon federal officials breaking the law to build a southern border wall.
He’s also defended remarks as being sarcastic, like calling President Barack Obama a founder of ISIS and telling police officers “please don’t be too nice to suspects.” He enjoys calling his enemies “a joke.”
These aren’t exactly comedy hits, but they are doing the job of muddling truth and watering down language.
It’s to the point where reporters are asking White House officials if the president is joking after he makes certain statements.
It’s actually a brilliant linguistic device he’s concocted; something everyone can use.
Instead of a newspaper’s daily “corrections” listings, it should be called “Just Kidding.” Of course we know the correct address of that school. Clearly, the mayor didn’t say exactly those words. Who doesn’t know the operating hours of that business?
We were just kidding! Come on, lighten up.
This tactic would have saved a few political careers.
Imagine if former Vice President Dan Quayle had brushed off misspelling a vegetable at an elementary class.
“I know how to spell potato, but I was seeing if those kids did. I was just joking.”
Democrat Michael Dukakis blew his shot at the presidency with a 1988 tank ride that was designed to create a tough-guy image. It failed.
But maybe it would have helped to later say, ““Oh, that photo was meant to be ironic. Everyone can see that.”
Americans don’t really understand the meaning of irony but don’t want to look stupid. So it could have worked.
Democrat Howard Dean might have saved his presidential bid after that infamous 2004 high-pitched scream by downplaying it with, “Jeez, everyone knew I was goofing around.”
This new Unaccountability Culture will be great for kids.
“Mom, I was kidding around when calling you an idiot.” “We’re not fighting. It’s our way of having fun.” “My math teacher should have known I wasn’t being real when answering everything wrong.”
I’m going to reply with “Just kidding” for a lot of things from now on, from calling kids by the wrong name to being late picking them up from school.
It’s a joke. It’s all in fun. No harm. It’s you, not me.
Just like the comedian who is our president.