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Post Partisan
Posted at 03:57 PM ET, 05/02/2011

Trump deserved every lump at correspondents’ dinner


“TRUMP sat stone-faced at the WashPost table at last night’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner as Seth Meyers of ‘Saturday Night Live’ ripped him brutally. Definitely laughing at him, not with him. Was so awkward that some folks at his table stopped laughing and applauding.” From Politico Playbook on Sunday

Had I been at that table I would not have stopped laughing and applauding for one second. Donald Trump deserved no such courtesy.

Trump’s faux candidacy for the Republican nomination for president leads in some polls, thanks to his willful embrace of the disgusting, dangerous and racist birther conspiracy lie that President Obama was not born in the United States and, thus, the illegitimate occupant of the White House. And when that was proved wrong — again — last week by the release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate, Trump doubled down by questioning the qualifications of the president to go to Columbia and Harvard universities. This was another ugly insult in his ceaseless quest for attention.

Well, Trump got all the attention he could ever want Saturday night. The swarm enveloping him and his wife as they made their way through the Washington Hilton surely stoked the ample ego of the Donald. “He’s eating this up!” was the refrain from everyone I talked to who took the time to watch the carnival as it passed through. I wanted no part of it.

But Trump’s face went from smiling to stern after jokes about him began. Obama went after him by name:

Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald. (Laughter.) And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? (Laughter.) What really happened in Roswell? (Laughter.) And where are Biggie and Tupac? (Laughter and applause.)

But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. (Laughter.) For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of “Celebrity Apprentice” — (laughter) — at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team cooking did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil’ Jon or Meatloaf. (Laughter.) You fired Gary Busey. (Laughter.) And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. (Laughter and applause.) Well handled, sir. (Laughter.) Well handled.

That slam against Trump would take on a new power and significance almost 24 hours later when the president announced the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The dinner’s comedic headliner Seth Meyers also ripped into Trump.

“I like that Trump is filthy rich but nobody told his accent. His whole life is models and gold leaf and marble columns, but he still sounds like a know-it-all down at the O.T.B.”

“Donald Trump often appears on Fox, which is ironic because a fox often appears on Donald Trump’s head. If you’re at the Washington Post table with Trump and you can’t finish your entree, don’t worry, the fox will eat it.”

But the best Meyers line was this one: “Donald Trump said that he was running for president as a Republican. That’s funny, because I thought he was running as a joke.”

The joke was on Trump Saturday night. And he didn’t crack a smile. That’s a big error in politics. If you can’t laugh at what others say about you there’s no way you’re going to survive in this arena or in Washington. Asked his reaction to the dinner on Fox News on Sunday, Trump was his typical thin-skinned self with a dollop of self-pity.

You go to a certain level and you raise to a certain level, let’s say in this case in the polls, and, boy, does the world come after you, especially if you happen to be conservative. . . . I’m a little bit surprised to see it. . . . I knew what I was really getting into last night. I had no idea it would be to that extent, where just joke after joke after joke. It was almost like “Is there anyone else they could talk about?”

No, Mr. Trump. There was no one else to talk about and that was by your design. You wanted to play in the big leagues. Well, welcome to the game. In the world of politics -- and especially at that dinner -- you have to be able to laugh at yourself. None of the jokes told about Trump Saturday night were nearly as harsh as the lies he insisted on perpetuating that has led to the scrutiny and ridicule he’s now receiving. If he thought Saturday night was bad he hasn’t seen anything yet.

By  |  03:57 PM ET, 05/02/2011

 
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