People rolled their eyes in amazed exasperation when the news dropped that President Trump has invited as one of his guests to his State of the Union address an 11-year-old boy who was bullied in school because he has the same last name as the president.
The hypocrisy of the nation’s biggest cyber bully highlighting the demonization of his family name was interpreted by many people as another example of Trump’s sense of self-victimization — a concept as laughable as the “Be Best” campaign First Lady Melania Trump has made her pet cause despite her husband’s daily barrage of insults hurled via social media.
NPR host Rachel Martin pressed White House Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway this morning on the inherent cognitive dissonance between the invitation of Joshua Trump — the boy whose only reason for being bullied was his misfortune of sharing a surname with the president — and President Trump’s well-documented history of “cyberbullying people with whom he disagrees.”
On NPR’s Morning Edition, Martin asked Conway:
“Is the president going to mention Joshua in his address? And in doing so, will he apologize for his own role in cyberbullying people with whom he disagrees?”
Conway evaded the question at first, responding with a treacly nod to the heartstring-pulling nature of Joshua’s story. Martin, however, refused to let her off the hook and repeated:
“Will the president apologize for how he’s used the internet to bully people?” the NPR host asked again.
The senior Trump advisor denied the premise of the question, defending the president’s use of social media as his way of speaking directly to the people without the distortion (or, as remained unsaid, the fact-checking) of the mainstream media, calling him a “counterpuncher.”
Conway claimed that Trump uses his “considerable media platforms to cut through the middlemen who don’t tell the truth about his record,” forgetting to mention that this shortcut allows the president to spread his own falsified version of reality without being called out for his unprecedented level of deception.
The determined NPR interviewer continued to push her point — obvious to anyone who has paid an iota of attention to the president’s behavior — by getting specific with examples of Trump’s bullying.
“He’s also called out his own intelligence chiefs, calling them naive, saying they should go back to school, calling [Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)] low IQ Maxine Waters,” Martin countered. “There is though some hypocrisy, people have pointed out, to inviting a young man who has been bullied [and] to ignore the president’s own role.”
Conway, unable to credibly counter the claims of hypocrisy, fell back on exploiting the sympathy most people feel for bullied children, saying that parents with young offspring “really appreciate” the president’s efforts at addressing bullying by bringing Joshua Trump to the U.S. Capitol.
As for how the 11-year-old himself feels about the invitation, the White House issued a statement saying that Joshua Trump was “thankful to the First Lady and the Trump family for their support.”
He may feel differently in a few years after history makes its judgment of the Trump era and he will face the same dilemma that those saddled with the surname Hitler have faced for decades: file for an official name change or live with the association with infamy.
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Original reporting by Justin Wise at The Hill.