President Donald Trump tends to speak off-script and off-the-cuff, which has led to multiple controversies lead up to and during his presidency. The most recent controversy surrounded his comments at a campaign rally in Battle Creek Michigan, where the president joked about a deceased congressman from Michigan.
Rep. John Dingell, a military veteran, passed away at the age of 92 in February 2019 and was a longtime Democratic congressman. His wife, Debbie, currently serves as a congresswoman in his district.
Trump, referring to the deceased Dingell, said that he hoped that Dingell was looking down from heaven, not up from hell.
“I gave him everything. I don’t want anything. I don’t need anything for anything,” Trump said. He continued, “She [Debbie Dingell] calls me up: ‘It’s the nicest thing that’s ever happened. Thank you so much. John would be so thrilled. He’s looking down. He’d be so thrilled. Thank you so much, sir.’ I said, ‘That’s OK, don’t worry about it.’” Trump added, “Maybe he’s looking up, I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe, but let’s assume he’s looking down.”
The media piled on Trump for his off-the-cuff joke about Dingell and quoted multiple lawmakers who demanded an apology from Trump. Dingell’s widow did not ask for an apology but asked for more civility in politics. NBC News called the joke “crass,” and CNN reported that Trump “implies that the late Rep. John Dingell is ‘looking up’ from hell.”
As terrible the joke was, the media piled on Trump for his comment about hell, but not about Trump’s comment that he hoped Dingell was in heaven. It seemed biased that the media would focus on the negative part of his joke, but not the well-wishes of Trump that Dingell would be residing in heaven. Still, the joke should probably not have been uttered, but this is likely not the first or last time that Trump will offend people with his off-the-cuff remarks.
The media’s wall-to-wall coverage of Trump’s comments and remarks tend to ignore more important issues, such as the state of the economy, government regulations, and court decisions on policy. By focusing on his off-the-cuff comments, the media cannot give an accurate and impartial portrayal of America’s economic, political, or social situation due to all the hype and emotion given to Trump’s comments.