At this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner, Michelle Wolf gave a very controversial performance. As expected, most on the left are defending Michelle Wolf from the predictable attacks from Trump supporters. In particular, they seem keen on defending Sarah Huckabee Sanders from the attacks Wolf delivered on her looks. They’re both wrong.
The Trump supporters are correct—in a way. Wolf’s attack on Sanders was reprehensible. She went from petty attacks on Sanders’s looks to justified attacks on her character. More specifically Wolf targeted Sanders’s tendency to lie for Trump. I want to point out, though, that a large amount of Trump supporters are glossing over the worst part of Wolf’s performance: her awful abortion joke. She told critics of abortion “don’t knock it ‘til you try it — and when you do try it, really knock it. You know, you’ve got to get that baby out of there.” If they were to attack Wolf for that terrible joke instead of for her comments on Sanders, perhaps their case would be strengthened. But as it stands, their attacks on Wolf are largely hypocritical.
Keep in mind, these are the same people who support Donald Trump. They excused his behavior for years as just “punching back” or that he’s “just joking.” This hypocrisy, of course, is used as a springboard for those on the left to attack Trump supporters. After all, if Trump’s despicable attacks on several women’s looks, or his imitation of a disabled reporter, are all fine, then surely Michelle Wolf’s jokes are also fine.
What both of these positions fail to realize is that there’s a possibility that both of these attacks are awful. Therein lies one of the main problems in our current political landscape. We continue to excuse vile behavior on our side, but we then criticize that same behavior when it appears on the other side. Michelle Wolf purposely made controversial jokes in order to get attention. Nobody would have remembered her two days after her performance if she didn’t cause such a huge fight to break out because of it. She wanted attention, and attention is what she got. She won. So, in that way, she’s exactly like Trump.