Donald Trump surrogate Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York, made the case Monday night that Hillary Clinton is a hypocrite because the Democratic presidential nominee, who condemned her opponent's vulgar remarks on a leaked recording from 2005, likes Beyoncé's music.
This was a serious argument. How can Clinton dig “Formation” yet call Trump's comments “horrific"? Here's an excerpt of McCaughey's exchange on CNN with host Don Lemon and Republican strategist Tara Setmayer:
McCAUGHEY: Hillary Clinton expresses that she finds the language on that bus horrific, but in fact she likes language like this, quote, "I came to slay, b----. When he F me good, I take his a-- to Red Lobster."
LEMON: Did she say that?
McCAUGHEY: That happens to be a line from Beyoncé.
SETMAYER: Beyoncé said that.
LEMON: Yes, I know. That's Beyoncé's —
McCAUGHEY: Her favorite performer whom she says she idolizes and would like to imitate. So you know what I'm saying to you? There's a lot of hypocrisy ...
McCAUGHEY: ... in Hillary Clinton expressing such horror.
LEMON: Okay, Betsy.
You have to listen to Lemon's delivery of "Okay, Betsy" to understand what he actually meant. The rough translation is, "That's ridiculous."
Yes, Beyoncé has a potty mouth, but that is where the similarity to Trump ends. Trump was not merely dropping cuss words and talking about sex on the tape published last week by The Washington Post; he was boasting about kissing and groping women without consent and getting away with it because he is famous. That's a rather important distinction.
Also, to say that Clinton "idolizes and would like to imitate" Beyoncé is a bit of a stretch. What Clinton has said is, "I want to be as good a president as Beyoncé is a performer."
Clinton called Beyoncé's "Lemonade" album "great" during an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in May and dropped what might have been a "Formation" reference on the "Breakfast Club" radio show in April, when she said she carries hot sauce in her purse. "Formation" includes the lyric "I got a hot sauce in my bag, swag" and also contains the line McCaughey quoted on CNN on Monday night.
McCaughey's strained comparison is all the more striking because the Trump campaign has recently sought to exert more messaging control over surrogates. In August, after a series of outlandish remarks made by freelancing pseudo-representatives, the campaign ordered surrogates to stop booking TV appearances without approval.
"We want to make sure that people who are communicating on behalf of the campaign are accurately and effectively communicating Mr. Trump’s message," Trump communications strategist Jason Miller told Bloomberg Politics at the time.
It is unclear whether McCaughey was following campaign talking points when she likened Trump's words to Beyoncé's or whether she veered off script. The campaign did not respond to an inquiry from The Fix.