Trump launches a rage-filled and false attack on Bette Midler
President Donald Trump was still on a state visit Tuesday night when he launched a Twitter attack on Bette Midler. Because, why not, I guess.
Here's the backstory: Midler, an iconic actress, apparent shared a fake quote falsely attributed to Trump on Twitter Sunday night. It alleged Trump had called Republicans the "dumbest group of voters. The fake quote had made the rounds in the early days of the 2016 campaign and had been widely debunked, but as lies on the internet have the habit of doing, it reemerged somehow and caught Midler's eye.
Obviously, it's never good when someone shares false information, but Midler was corrected and apologized on Monday. All things considered, it wasn't a big deal, and I, as someone who covers politics professionally, didn't even hear about it. Until the president apparently heard about it Tuesday night and blew up on Twitter:
Washed up psycho @BetteMidler was forced to apologize for a statement she attributed to me that turned out to be to… https://t.co/G1qLRLvFZN— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1559694655.0
On the one hand, there's always an urge to ignore such tweets. But as ridiculous as it continues to be, Trump is still president, and it's worth considering what this means.
First, it's important to note that this attack on Midler, who has already apologized for spreading something false, is itself false. Trump says the false quote was "fabricated by her" in order to hurt Trump. But the fake quote has been around for years, and Midler obviously didn't make it up. If she wanted to make up a quote to damage Trump, she could lie about something he supposedly told her privately in the past, which no one could ever disprove. Instead, it seems that Midler shared the quote thinking it was real and apologized when she realized it was false.
Second, and it seems almost quaint to point this out, but this is just blatantly hypocritical. Trump lies all the time about whatever topic he feels like. His entrance into politics was premised on a bogus lie about President Barack Obama's birthplace. And unlike Midler, he never admits when he gets caught saying something false. The idea that he's actually morally outraged about a lie is absurd.
Third, even if Midler had made up the quote maliciously, his attack on her is extreme. He's the president of the United States. He doesn't need to call a woman "psycho" and "sick." It's just demeaning to everyone involved.
Finally, and it can't be said enough, he's the president. Of course, people are going to say false things about him. People on Twitter will argue about it. But he should just grow up and learn to ignore it. The fact that he can't, that he's obsessed with the trivial things people tweet about, and that he's rage-tweeting in the middle of the night, only reinforce how grossly unfit he is for the office he holds.