Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @DeanObeidallah. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion articles on CNN.
Many of Donald Trump’s supporters at Fox News were outraged by Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s use of the word “motherf***er,” in reference to the President, on Thursday night. If only these same Trump supporters could get half as upset over Trump’s racist and sexist remarks, his alleged corruption and his inhumane immigration policies.
This latest display of hypocrisy came after Rep. Tlaib spoke at a party organized by the progressive organization Moveon.org. Relaying a conversation she’d had after winning, Tlaib told the audience, “And when your son looks at you and says, ‘Mama, look, you won. Bullies don’t win.’ And I said, ‘Baby, they don’t, because we’re going to go in there, we’re going to impeach the motherf***er!’”
The reaction was swift. The audience in the room cheered Tlaib, once again making it clear that the progressive base remains passionate about opposing Trump – by any political means possible.
On Trump’s side, the response was equally intense. There was Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” bemoaning Tlaib’s comment as being “uncivil.” And Fox News anchor Sandra Smith asked White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley: “I just wonder what this says about decorum in this new era of divided government and the new Congress?”
Decorum? Smith should receive an Oscar for not laughing when she asked that question given Trump’s history of racist comments. In particular, Trump has attacked the intelligence of certain prominent black Americans, be it the basketball star LeBron James, whom he referred to as “dumbest man” on TV or Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif), who he said has a “Low IQ.”
In response to that question, Gidley laughably responded by slamming Democrats for their “nasty, ridiculous, outrageous rhetoric.” I guess Gidley has not heard the vileness of his boss – from mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings to just last week referring to retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal as a man “known for a big, dumb mouth.”
Then there was the reaction of GOP House leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who was absolutely beside himself that Tlaib had used the curse word. McCarthy, at a press gathering on Capitol Hill, began by patting the GOP on the back, saying that when the Republicans had control of the House, “They put a resolution together to actually work with one another, to not use foul language… This is the difference with this Congress, and it’s wrong.”
McCarthy was immediately challenged by a reporter who noted in reference to Trump’s mocking of Stormy Daniels, “The President not too long ago referred to a woman as a ‘horseface,’” adding, “Who within your caucus called out the President for that type of language?” McCarthy, not offering any names or even noting what his reaction had been, responded, “I think a lot of them did.” And while some prominent ones, including then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, did, that is but one instance of a select few doing the right thing. McCarthy then walked off before reporters could ask follow-up questions.
If only McCarthy were this worked up over allegations made under oath that Trump directed his then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen to violate campaign finance laws in order to help win the 2016 presidential election. (Trump denies these allegations.) Instead, McCarthy did his best to minimize those allegations: “To go forward and say there’s an impeachable offense because of a campaign finance problem, there’s a lot of members in Congress who would have to leave for that.”
To be fair, some Democrats also criticized Tlaib’s choice of words, such as Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), who stated, “Donald Trump has been making these comments or much worse since the campaign. But we cannot afford to get into the gutter with the President.”
But Cleaver has been vocally critical of Trump’s inhumane policies, including his family separation policy, which Cleaver slammed as “worse than we imagined” and said was “not acceptable in the United States in 2018.” In contrast, Trump’s allies defended these very horrific policies. Take Ann Coulter, a frequent Fox News guest, who despicably called the children separated from their parents “child actors,” as she urged Trump to not fall for this supposed ruse.
One of the best responses to Tlaib’s comments was by newly-elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the right’s latest obsession, who tweeted, “Republican hypocrisy at its finest: saying that Trump admitting to sexual assault on tape is just ‘locker room talk,’ but scandalizing themselves into faux-outrage when my sis says a curse word in a bar.”
Will calling out the right’s hypocrisy on this issue make them less likely to repeat it? No, but we must still do it, so that it doesn’t become normalized. Much in the same way we can never allow Trump to normalize his racism and sexism.