As of this writing, the partial government shutdown has lasted 33 days, putting the lives of not only 800,000 furloughed employees in jeopardy, but also anyone flying in airplanes, wanting to not eat poisoned food or hoping we can stop any potential terrorist attack. Who to turn to for comfort? Probably not the guy who caused it. President Donald J. Trump has stubbornly stuck by his guns, using the language of kidnappers to get money for his border wall no matter what. He also doesn’t appear to know how grocery stores work.
As per New York, the 45th president was speaking to reporters — his only line to the American people now that Nancy Pelosi has shut down his State of the Union address, apart from his Twitter feed and constant media presence, of course — about controversial comments made by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, an 81-year-old billionaire who may have committed some finance crimes because what’s a Trump employee who may not possibly be going to jail?
Ross told CNBC he didn’t understand why furloughed workers are using food banks to survive, because, he said, “the obligations that they would undertake, say, borrowing from a bank or a credit union, are in effect federally guaranteed.” The loudest Arrested Development narrator voice possible here: They aren’t.
As it turns out, his boss, the president, thinks Ross misspoke, though Trump admitted he hadn’t heard Ross’ statement. Whatever it was, he wasn’t wrong; he was simply using the wrong words. And our president, as he’s informed us before, has the best words. So this golden-tongued orator tried to re-phrase Ross’ comments. How’d he do?
Trump didn’t contest the bubbled statement that he hadn’t heard. “Local people know who they are, when they go for groceries and everything else,” Trump said. “I know banks are working along. If you have mortgages, the mortgagees, the folks collecting the interest and all of those things, they work along. And that’s what happens in time like this. They know the people, they’ve been dealing with them for years, and they work along.”
Yes, the president doesn’t only believe that the 800,000 employees struggling to pay rent or get insulin so they don’t die are happy that they’re being used as pawns. He also thinks most of America is an idyllic small town that’s effectively an autonomous collective — a socialist paradise where everyone supports everyone else, and people swap yarn so they can get phosphates at the local soda jerk. Perhaps this is what one believes when one’s been a millionaire since childhood.
In light of these comments, some did what they too often have to do when the leader of the free world says or does something both creatively moronic and bottomlessly terrifying: Go on social media and make savage jokes that double as primal screams about how we may all die because we live in the dumbest timeline.
Some pointed to the president’s long history of understanding how non-rich people live day-to-day.
Some knew that the best way to embarrass Trump is simply to quote him word-for-word.
Some pointed to his perhaps inflated business acumen.
Some let loose howls of pure, righteous anger.
Some reminded us that SNL needs to step up its game.
But let’s go back to grocery stores.
Has he been to one?
Some made good Arrested Development Jokes.
Others kept their eye on those 800,000 government employees.
Some asked if Trump understands the difference between the real and the reel.
Others asked us to look at his make-up for clues.
Some reminded us that he has a history of screwing over contractors.
Others wanted video proof that grocery stores were acting, well, socialist.
Others didn’t have jokes but sad stories to remind us that none of this is actually funny, and it may get worse.