By now, you’re probably tired of hearing about Roseanne Barr and her racist tweet. It was another case where the usual bottom-line-feeding corporate executives were forced to display a flash of conscience. Or they calculated that her show, which has made ABC millions of dollars, would now make them nothing but trouble if they didn’t get rid of her in a big hurry. So, Roseanne Barr is now in the Dumpster.
What’s interesting is the Trumpster’s reaction. Even Donald Trump seemed to heed the advice of a grownup; either that or he was taking his meds. Whatever the reason, he didn’t directly defend Roseanne or her sense of humor, even though he previously has bragged about her big success and big ratings — mainly because she’s such a rarity in show business, a Donald Trump admirer.
Instead of standing up for his bigoted soulmate Roseanne, he defaulted to his victim role and tossed a little nastiness at Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, which owns ABC, as well as much of the world. What about the “double standard,” he complained, in not firing any number of ABC personalities who have made remarks that offended Donald Trump or his supporters, some of them really tacky?
But he is going bonkers, crying “double standard” about Samantha Bee, who is definitely not a Trump supporter. That certainly was clear with what Samantha called Ivanka Trump during her TV monologue. Frankly, it’s a term I wouldn’t use in polite company. I wouldn’t even use it in impolite company. Since she did, the executives at TBS, her network, have been agonizing over whether to fire her.
Meanwhile, Trump was forced to pay attention to a variety of distractions. “The president’s focused on North Korea,” said his flack Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “and he’s focused on trade deals and he’s focused on the economy.” He’s also focused on stuff like the Robert Mueller criminal investigation, where he and his accomplices — notably Rudy Giuliani — are using big-lie techniques, trying to make something out of nothing and call it “Spygate.”
But let’s take Sanders at her word, which is often dangerous. Let’s suspend disbelief and accept that he really is dealing with substance, particularly the ins and outs of actually meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. If the face-to-face really does happen, the usual bluster isn’t going to cut it.
Great tangles of hostility would have to be unknotted, for starters, and the issues involved are terrifyingly complicated. What inducements will it take to persuade Kim to give up his nuclear arsenal and defuse the Korean flashpoint? It is a dilemma that has baffled great geopolitical thinkers for generations.
Perhaps the Donald Trump unthinking approach might do the trick. If his advisers can buttress his impulse control, maybe the North Koreans will be charmed by his unorthodox approach. Or it could blow up in their faces. It could blow up in all of our faces if Kim decides to keep playing the weapons-of-mass-destruction game.
Donald Trump has been known to try intimidation tactics of his own. If the talks hit a snag, maybe he can bring in Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee to forge a compromise. That should work.
(Bob Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN.)
© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.