On a day of high drama in Washington, leave it to President Donald Trump to provide a little comic relief — and still make a point about his political opponents.
During a White House appearance with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, before a joint news conference that was peppered with questions about the “whistleblower” saga engulfing Washington, Trump fielded one inquiry from a Finnish reporter that apparently aimed to lighten the mood.
And a grinning Trump took full advantage of it.
“Finland is the happiest country in the world,” the reporter began. “What can you learn from Finland?”
Obviously playing to the mood, Trump slapped Niinistö on the knee.
“Well, you got rid of Pelosi and you got rid of shifty Schiff,” he answered. “Finland is a happy country. He’s a happy leader, too.”
FINNISH REPORTER: “Finland is the happiest country in the world.”
TRUMP: “Finland is a happy country.”
FINNISH REPORTER: “What can you learn from Finland?”
TRUMP: “Well, you got rid of Pelosi and you got rid of shifty Schiff. Finland is a happy country. He’s a happy leader, too.” pic.twitter.com/n8PRmE99QH
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) October 2, 2019
The line drew audible laughter from those in the room, but it was greeted with a little less good humor by the liberals at Newsweek, where a post about Trump’s comment was headlined, “TRUMP SEEMS TO SUGGEST GETTING ‘RID’ OF NANCY PELOSI AND ADAM SCHIFF TO MAKE U.S. AS HAPPY AS FINLAND.”
Right, because every sane person who watched that moment immediately concluded the president was planning to do away with two of the most prominent Democrats in Congress. (Liberals love their melodramas.)
And get a load of the picture the editors decided to use.
Watch: Trump seems to suggest getting “rid” of Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff to make U.S. as happy as Finland https://t.co/FkiSjmASSI
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) October 2, 2019
Remember how often the establishment media would deliberately pick out embarrassing images of Barack Obama? (Sure, doesn’t everyone?)
Sarcasm aside, obviously, Trump was not speaking literally here. The only people in a position to “get rid” of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff are their voters, and since she’s from San Francisco and he’s from Los Angeles — twin bastions of Democratic power for the wealthy and utter squalor for the miserable homeless — it’s a good bet they’ll stay safely in their Democratic seats for as long as their consciences let them.
But the moment does raise the question of just how much better off the country might have been if Democrats had decided after the 2016 election to act like a grown-up political party — one that was in the opposition, sure, but not one that considered itself a “resistance” force to a duly elected president.
Considering Trump has faced unprecedented, unyielding opposition on every front — in the mainstream media, in the entertainment culture and, of course, in politics — the accomplishments the country has seen during his presidency are all the more impressive.
From the moribund malaise of the Obama years, the economy has revived in a way that’s unimaginable if Hillary Clinton had won the White House.
Imagine what it could have been like with a normal, functioning opposition party. Is that what Democrats were really afraid of? That America would see how wrong they were in the Obama years?
Thanks to Democratic victories in the 2018 midterms, Pelosi, Schiff and their viciously small-minded fellow travelers are going to be around to plague Trump and his supporters into the 2020 election — and if he wins a second term, they’re going to be even worse.
That’s not anything to laugh at, but at least Trump could use it to make a joke Wednesday — and make a point at the same time.