I was a fan of the bizarro "Pee-wee's Playhouse" that ran Saturday mornings on CBS from 1986 to 1990, featuring Paul Reubens as the childlike Pee-wee Herman. Voted No. 10 on TV Guide's 2004 ranking of top cult shows ever, each Playhouse episode featured a "secret word of the day."
The memory of Pee-wee and the gang flooded back to me this morning with news that president Trump decided to attack Google, which he claims prioritizes liberal media at the expense of conservative outlets in its searches.
Apparently inspired by Pee-wee, the president chose "Google" as his secret word of the day. On cue, the media swallowed the bait and launched a blitz of stories about the fairness/unfairness of Google.
Trump's attack on the search engine fit his strategy of keeping critics and supporters off-kilter by tossing out daily diversions from his most recent blunders, such as the disgraceful snub of American hero John McCain.
The Washington Post reported that Trump rejected a White House statement that praised the heroism of the former Arizona Senator. Instead the tweeter-in-chief opted for a bland tweet published Saturday night after the announcement of the death of 81-year old McCain. It read:
“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
The tweet is not exactly Hallmark cards material and certainly an inappropriate tribute for a man who dedicated his life to serving the country.
After a storm of criticism from veterans and politicos, Trump tried to regain his footing on Monday. Of course, he had to interject himself into McCain Tweet No. 2. That one read:
“Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment.”
Frankly, the country doesn't care about Trump's differences with either McCain's policies or politics. The focus of Tweet No. 2 should have been on celebrating McCain's national service. Period.
Since the president is not invited to McCain's memorial services (at the late Senator's request), Trump will have plenty to stew about over the next few days.
McCain lies in state in Arizona's Capitol on Wednesday (former Vice President Joe Biden will attend the church service in Phoenix). The late Senator lies in state Friday at the US Capitol (Vice President Mike Pence, House Majority Leader Paul Ryan will be there). On Saturday, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama will deliver remarks at McCain's service at the National Cathedral.
The president will have to line up more secret words over the next couple of days to keep the media spotlight on his No 1 priority, which is Donald Trump.