After The Lincoln Project put up this billboard in Times Square taking shots at Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, an attorney for the uber-privileged duo sent a cease-and-desist letter, threatening a lawsuit if the ad wasn’t taken down. Of course, like Ivanka’s father, they’re never going to actually file a lawsuit, because that would open them up to all sorts of discovery, which would no doubt uncover even more things they don’t want us to know about. What continues to surprise me is how unaware Trump, Kushner, and their lawyers are that, by publicizing the lawsuit threat, they’re pouring gasoline on the flame. Not only are they giving national publicity to something that was only being seen by New Yorkers, but they also allowed the Lincoln Project to exploit them further by having the Project’s attorney write a letter explaining how the First Amendment works and posting it on Twitter, where it’s been shared thousands of times (along with a photo of the billboard).
After five people in Mike Pence’s office tested positive for Covid-19 — including his chief of staff, with whom he’s been in regular close contact — Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows announced that Pence will keep campaigning: “Essential personnel, whether it’s the Vice President of the United States or anyone else, has to continue on.” Essential personnel? Is there any job in America less essential than Vice President? By the way, that’s the same Mark Meadows who yesterday morning said, “We’re not going to control the pandemic.” As if that’s breaking news about the Trump administration. Because, you know, leadership.
I watched the “Borat” sequel on Prime Video this weekend and have to admit I found it funnier and more biting than I expected. While I’ve praised Sacha Baron Cohen’s acting in “The Spy” and “The Trial Of The Chicago Seven” (my review is here), I’ve never been a fan of prank humor, which is essentially what he does with his Borat character. While “Borat 2” contains plenty of scenes my wife would never watch — including his a fertility dance by his daughter (brilliantly played by Maria Bakalova) in front of a crowd of debutantes — I found much of it sharp-witted and astute. As he exposes right-wing conspiracy theorists, an evangelical who’s more horrified at the thought of abortion than incest, and other closed-minded individuals, Cohen stays in character and goes with the flow. The guy’s got guts, too, pulling off a stunt during Mike Pence’s appearance at CPAC and later getting a MAGA-crazed crowd to sing along to a song with lyrics about Obama, Fauci and others being injected with the coronavirus or “being chopped up like the Saudis” do. As for the segment with Rudy Giuliani that has gotten so much press attention, the disgusting part is not the hands-down-his-pants footage, but the smarminess dripping off Giuliani as he flirts with Bakalova and spews absolute lies about Covid-19.
Finally, here’s a piece of really good news in this election season: in eight more days, all of those campaign commercials will disappear from the airwaves and social media and we can start being inundated with Christmas ads for things we don’t need, just as our founders planned.