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Advertisement He can't tell a joke, but won't stop trying
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · April 13th, 2017


Donald Trump's approval rating is 35 percent. Of course, there is a learning curve and, in all fairness, President of the United States is the hardest job in the world. But I suspect that Trump's biggest challenge is he can't tell a joke.

Not that he doesn't try. During the campaign, Trump warned a crowd of supporters that if Hillary Clinton became president, she would take away their guns and abolish the Second Amendment. "If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people - maybe there is, I don't know."

To some observers, this sounded as if Trump was inviting people to assassinate Hillary Clinton, should she become elected - which would make him guilty of a felony. House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to smooth over the incident, saying it had been "just a joke gone bad."

What makes a joke go bad? When it gets you five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. And nobody laughs.

When Trump said Obama and Clinton "founded" the terrorist group ISIS, many were horrified and outraged. An exasperated Trump tweeted, "THEY DON'T GET SARCASM." As if the press corps and the State Department were all a bunch of humorless dolts who didn't get the joke. Of course, if this is his idea of sarcasm, Trump doesn't know the meaning of sarcasm. He then walked back his claim of sarcasm, saying that he wasn't being "all that sarcastic" - which, I guess, itself, could have been sarcastic.

When Trump appeared to ask the Russians to hack Hillary's 33,000 emails, which, to some, sounded like treason, he claimed he had only been kidding. But did the Russians know he was kidding?

In February, Trump was in South Carolina, visiting the Boeing plant, when he tried to make a joke about an aging 30-year-old Boeing 787. "As beautiful as it looks, it's 30 years old - can you believe it?" he said. "What can look so beautiful at 30? An airplane." (Take note, Melania.)

On healthcare, Trump tweeted, "ObamaCare is a disaster and Snowden is a spy who should be executed - but if he could reveal Obama's records, I might become a major fan."

Okay, we know Trump wasn't really asking Snowden to spy for him in order to bring down the president. But is this truly his idea of a joke?

At the Al Smith Dinner, the annual Catholic charity fundraiser in which presidential candidates traditionally get to relax and make some good-natured fun of their opponents, Trump went completely off the rails and "joked" about how Hillary was "corrupt" and hated Catholics. The response ranged from stunned silence to actual boos.

Trump just can't tell a joke, which is unusual for a president. Obama was a first-class comedian. George W. Bush was a good storyteller and a funny guy. Bill Clinton could be hilarious.

Maybe Trump has no perspective on himself. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, "Donald Trump is the kind of person who goes to the Super Bowl and thinks the people in the huddle are talking about him."

Ms. Alex Wagner, a commentator for MSNBC, once observed that Trump almost never laughs. It's as if he doesn't enjoy being president. I think he misses his old life in the golden Trump Tower. It wouldn't surprise me if he resigns someday, explaining that he needed to spend more time alone with his money. Maybe then he could laugh again.
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