At 1:30 in the morning London time, the president of the United States decided to start a Twitter war with Bette Midler. As one does. Why would he do that? Was it a way to deflect attention away from the meme-storm devouring his daughter and son-in-law? Maybe, but it turns out it was also a delayed comeback to an insult for which the singer-actress already apologized. Welcome to hell.
Some backstory: On Monday, Midler — no fan of Donald Trump, and vice versa — tweeted out an old quote from 1998 attributed to the current president, in which he called Republicans “dumb.” Turns out that’s not true. Upon becoming aware of this, Midler did what almost no one does when spreading false data on social media: She retracted her tweet and said sorry.
“I apologize,” Midler wrote, “this quote turns out to be a fake from way back in ‘15-16. Don’t know how I missed it, but it sounds SO much like him that I believed it was true!”
Midler then proceeded to call Trump out on things he definitely did, such as falsely calling “fake news” on the number of protesters greeted him on his state visit to England.
Anyway, cut to over a day later, and most people in England are sleeping. Not the visiting president of the United States. While not sleeping at Buckingham Palace, Trump decided to belatedly go after the Oscar-nominated actress and star of Hocus Pocus, much like that time Homer Simpson thought of a comeback hours after being insulted.
“Washed up psycho @BetteMidler was forced to apologize for a statement she attributed to me that turned out to be totally fabricated by her in order to make ‘your great president’ look really bad,” America’s commander-in-chief wrote. “She got caught, just like the Fake News Media gets caught. A sick scammer!”
Trump was so late in striking back at Midler that most of the world, having moved on, were surprised to learn that the woman who sang “The Wind Beneath My Wings” was a “psycho.”
Some pointed out what time he was tweeting.
Some reminded him that someone who spreads debunked memes, and never apologizes for it, shouldn’t be throwing stones.
Others wanted him to know he was going after the wrong queen.
Some pointed out that Trump has a long, weirdly random fixation on Bette Midler.
Of course, there’s nothing like a good, leftfield reference to 1988’s Big Business.
As it happens, at least one person saw this coming, two years back.
Anyway, it’s been a long day.