As mourners gather today at the thousand-person capacity Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the life and mark the passing of legendary journalist Cokie Roberts, it’s hard not to bear in mind President Donald Trump’s inappropriate and frankly disturbing remarks after her death earlier this week.
In a situation where any other statesman might have commented on Roberts’ impact on women in journalism or praised her for the unwavering depth of her Catholic faith, Trump instead made her passing due to complications from breast cancer all about himself, saying that he wished her family well, but that “she never treated me nicely.”
I was furious that day — my own life was milestoned by the nightly reassurances I got from Cokie and her colleagues that everything was going to be alright in a world of Libyan terrorists and the AIDS epidemic and even the public beginning of what we used to call global warming.
Now a video of an exchange that Roberts had with Trump over the phone during MSNBC’s Morning Joe way back in 2016 — before the respective parties’ national conventions for that year’s election — has resurfaced and may explain why Trump’s hurt feelings seemed so fresh to him: Because she cut straight to the core of his campaign messaging, and her line of questioning would be just as applicable today as it was in March 2016:
Mr. Trump, there have been incidents of children, of white children, pointing to their darker-skinned classmates and saying ‘you’ll be deported when Donald Trump is president.’ There have been incidents of white kids at basketball games, holding up signs to teams which have Hispanic kids on them saying ‘we’re gonna build a wall to keep you out.’ Are you proud of that? Is that something you’ve done in American political and social discourse that you’re proud of?”
Trump, of course, responded with the standard “nasty” appellation of almost everything said to him by a woman that displeased him, essentially shouting her down as she followed up and completed the thought she’d clearly been having since he entered the race.
But as angry as I was at the President on the day that Cokie passed for being such an insensitive lout, this video coming around to haunt him again on the day of her funeral feels a little bit to me like Cokie having the last word with a man that can’t talk over her any longer.
Featured image via screen capture
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