This is a fight she didn’t want.
Liberal pop-historian and NPR doyenne Sarah Vowell once said that, “Other than a bipartisan consensus on barbecue and Meryl Streep, plus that time in 1942 when everyone from Bing Crosby to Oregonian schoolchildren heeded FDR’s call to scrounge up rubber for the war effort, disunity is the through-line in the national plot.”
Unfortunately, part of that narrow national consensus fell apart at the Golden Globes this Sunday, when the aforementioned Streep decided to utilize a useless lifetime achievement award to give a witless speech attacking Donald Trump.
However, it didn’t take long for Trump to strike back on social media — and his response was liked over 146,000 times.
According to The Hill, Streep used her Sunday award to lambaste Trump, although she refused to mention him by name. Very Voldemort, nice touch.
“But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good — there was nothing good about it — but it was effective and did its job,” Streep said, referring to Trump’s alleged imitation of Serge Kovaleski, a reporter who has a congenital joint condition. “It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.
“It was that moment, when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter — someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back,” she continued. “It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was in real life.”
Totally unmentioned during the speech — and, indeed, by the media that covered it — was the fact that Trump’s “mocking” of a disabled reporter was quickly debunked by Fox News and other media outlets, which found video of Trump giving the same impression he gave of Kovaleski when mocking other, able-bodied, reporters was well political rivals. It might not have been pleasant, but it was not maliciously insulting to a person with disabilities.
Whether or not you feel that Trump’s impression was immature, to accuse him of singling out a reporter for his disability when the same impression was given for very abled reporters is — dare I say it? — “fake news.”
Trump himself was having none of this, and struck back at Streep on Facebook less than 12 hours later.
“Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big,” he wrote.
“For the 100th time, I never ‘mocked’ a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him ‘groveling’ when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad,” he added. “Just more very dishonest media!”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Streep’s speech was a gutless gut-punch delivered in front of a simpatico crowd where there was no chance for a response. She even impugned individuals who help pay her salary by seeing her movies, saying that they received Trump’s comments as if they “made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.”
And Trump shut that down in just a few words. Streep is hardly important, and it’s clear that part of her speech was maintaining her relevance. Her arguments were obviously flawed, and Trump shut them down.
Yet, watch. Streep’s fact-free and deliberately-misleading speech for a meaningless award will be marked as a high point for the Golden Globes, which cheerfully gave most of its honors to the breezy, photogenic Californian fantasy “La La Land.” That seems like a perfectly apt metaphor for everything wrong with this speech, as well as everything wrong with those who cheered it on.
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