The Killing Joke: The Danger of an Unserious President in Serious Times

At a recent press conference Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump once again continued his “shock and awe” campaign with the following comment:

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Yes, you heard right. A potential Commander in Chief just asked a foreign power to hack into US government databases to expose a political opponent. It would be a stunning, campaign-killing moment for any other presidential candidate in US history. But Trump isn’t any other candidate…

Trump, unlike most traditional politicians, has a potent oratory weapon that he uses frequently to shield himself from accountability for even his most dangerous statements. It’s called “the Joke”.

True to form the candidate explained away his dangerous comments by stating that he was just being sarcastic:

“Of course I’m being sarcastic,” Trump said in a Thursday morning interview with Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade. “But you have 33,000 emails deleted, and the real problem is what was said on those emails from the Democratic National Committee. You take a look at what was said on those emails, it’s disgraceful.”

Trump sycophants also came out in force defending his statements as nothing more than a harmless joke.

This latest incident is yet another example of how flippantly Donald Trump treats his role as a potential Commander in Chief.

A dumb joke doesn’t really impact much if you are nothing more than a faux real estate tycoon and reality TV personality, but it can have serious consequences coming from the leader of the free world. When you are responsible for the safety of the United States and its allies you can’t go around tossing out suggestions to hack our country… even in jest.

Trump has a penchant for wrapping up all of his thoughts and beliefs within the guise of a joke. It is a convenient way to excuse away any statement that could be problematic, but it also creates another issue.

If everything the man says is presented as a joke… as sarcasm… how can we really know when a statement should be taken seriously?

This is the danger of an unserious man having a DEAD SERIOUS role like President of the United States. He doesn’t understand the consequences of words. If the past is any indication, Trump’s words could have devastating ramifications.

I will give you one example of how a harmless joke could become the killing joke. This scenario may sound outlandish right now, but with a President Trump it may not be outside of the realm of possibility:

President Trump enters the briefing room to speak on the latest incident of a Russian jet buzzing a US air craft carrier. When asked by a reporter how he feels about Russia’s increasing aggression toward US military vessels, President Trump responds:

“I don’t like it. Putin is acting very, very badly. I mean, very badly! If he does it again we just might nuke them!”

*audible gasps in the press room*

Sure, for anyone else this would be a joke without consequences. But a sitting President making the same joke? Well, that could have some consequences, like, say… the end of civilization.