Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com
According to the White House, Trump was supposedly too “focused” on important issues to pay any attention to Roseanne Barr’s implosion this week. But Trump blew that talking point up Wednesday morning.
Less than 24 hours after Roseanne Barr’s show was cancelled over her racist remark about Valerie Jarrett, Trump figured out a way to wade into the issue without offending his racist base, or explicitly defending Roseanne.
Instead, he attacked an ABC executive for apologizing to Jarrett, tweeting “Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr.”
“Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?” Trump wrote.
But during a gaggle with reporters on Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted — three times — that Trump was laser-focused on issues like North Korea and was not even “looking at” the Roseanne controversy (emphasis added):
Sarah, the President has been a big supporter of Roseanne Barr. What is his and the White House’s reaction to her comments today and to ABC’s decision to cancel her show?
MS. SANDERS: Look, as you know, the President has been extremely focused, as I just walked through the things going on with the upcoming summit. And the President is focused on North Korea. He’s focused on trade deals. And he’s focused on rebuilding our military, the economy. And that’s what he’s spending his time on; not responding to other things.
Q Because he’s been focused on that show before. I mean, he called her after the show did really well. Does he have a reaction to what she said?
MS. SANDERS: Again, the President spent his day focused on dealing with the things going on with North Korea, trade rollout this morning. A lot of activity going on at the White House that the President has been focused on.
Q Does he think the show should have been cancelled?
MS. SANDERS: Again, that’s not what the President is looking at. That’s not what he’s spending his time on. And I think that we have a lot bigger things going on in the country right now, certainly that the President is spending his time when it comes to policy.
Sanders’ deflections were notable for a couple of reasons, the first being they echoed Trump’s own failed promise to start focusing on his job, made hours earlier. Someone in the White House thinks “focus” is an effective communications strategy, except Trump explodes it every few hours.
And Sanders’ remarks to reporters Tuesday were conspicuously devoid of any denunciation of the racist comments, which gave Trump time to figure out how to avoid offending his racist and resentful fans.
Since Trump and the GOP have already tipped their hand about exploiting racism in the midterms, it would not be surprising if Trump found a way to defend Roseanne Barr, who fits right in with that strategy.