In his address to a joint meeting of Congress this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds.” Forgive me for believing the latter and not the former. If the circumstances of how Netanyahu came to be in the well of the House two weeks before he stands for election were any more shady, they would constitute an eclipse.
Tuesday’s spectacle got me thinking about all the instances of folks throwing shade at the current occupant of the Oval Office. Herewith are the top six instances of rank disrespect toward President Obama.
5. The Daily Caller
A reporter from the conservative Web site interrupted the president as he announced his immigration action for the children of undocumented immigrants in the Rose Garden in 2012.
4. Speaker Boehner and Prime Minister Netanyahu
House Speaker John Boehner was wrong to extend the invitation to speak about Iran (as the United States continues negotiations over that nation’s nuclear program) without consulting the White House. Netanyahu was wrong to accept the invitation without talking with Obama. Protocol, folks.
3. Rudy Giuliani
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said, according to a story in Politico last month. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
When Megyn Kelly of Fox News asked Giuliani whether he wanted to apologize, he said, “Not at all. I want to repeat it.” Giuliani would then tell the New York Times his remarks weren’t racist “since [Obama] was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools” before trying to apologize in an ill-advised op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.
2. The Confederate flag
In October 2013, Michael Ashmore of Hooks, Tex., was among the many who converged on Washington for the Million Vet March on the Memorials. When that protest march during the government shutdown made its way to the White House, Ashmore unfurled the Confederate flag.
As I wrote then, if you want to curdle the blood of an African American without resorting to burning a cross on the lawn, all one need do is wave the Confederate flag, the banner for Southern resistance and white supremacy. Ashmore’s act was a reprehensible rebel yell in front of the home of the nation’s first black president.
1. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.)
During an address to a joint session of Congress in September 2009 aimed at salvaging his efforts at health-care reform, the president took on the false charge that the impending law would insure undocumented immigrants. Wilson shouted, “You lie!” and then raised money off heckling Obama.
Oh, the “lie” was, in fact, the truth.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj