It’s the afternoon of a day ending with “y,” so you know Donald Trump has offended someone already.
Look no further than Trump’s Fox News interview with Chris Wallace. A clip from that interview went viral earlier on Sunday when Wallace asked the president to respond to comments by Bill McRaven, the former Navy SEAL who oversaw the operation the ended in the death of Osama Bin Laden.
McRaven had previously criticized Trump’s frequent attacks against the media — specifically, his characterization of the press as “the enemy of the people” — as “the greatest threat to democracy” he’s ever witnessed. The former SEAL spoke up again in August after Trump’s apparently punitive revocation of former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance.
Before Wallace could even get his McRaven question out — he only got as far as detailing the man’s record of service — Trump interrupted: “Hillary Clinton fan.”
Wallace tried to continue, but Trump interrupted him again, an angry edge in his voice: “Excuse me. Hillary Clinton fan.”
Wallace continued again and finished his question. Trump responded, first by describing McRaven as a “backer” of Clinton and Barack Obama and then by hinting that McRaven is incompetent, saying “wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama Bin Laden a lot sooner than that?”
(It went even further than that. And this was after he boasted about how much he’s supposedly done for the military.)
Trump on retired Navy SEAL Adm. Bill McRaven, who has called the president’s attacks on the press “the greatest threat to democracy.”
“He’s a Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama backer. And frankly, wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that?” pic.twitter.com/tXsZHjJzaA
— Axios (@axios) November 18, 2018
Trump effectively minimized and then summarily dismissed a literal U.S. hero’s service to the country because he couldn’t take a little criticism. He also seemingly made up McRaven’s political leanings. The ill-advised comments prompted some outcry, as you might imagine.
Bill McRaven was NOT a Clinton “backer.” He never endorsed her or anyone for president. He was also on the short list that Chris Christie (then transition planning) put together of people who should be sought out for top natsec posts in a Trump administration. https://t.co/eFiw91oZTJ
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) November 18, 2018
This morning’s interview was a perfect distillation of Trump. In span of minutes, he says no one has been “more with the military” than he has, then trashes Admiral McRaven as a hack who didn’t catch bin Laden fast enough
— Sam Stein (@samstein) November 18, 2018
Trump, a draft dodging coward, doesn’t love or respect our military. He uses them as political props.
Trump’s petulant response here disrespects the service of Adm.McRaven & countless other special ops heroes who serve honorably daily, despite politics.
Just despicable🤬 https://t.co/fG6dpnq75i
— Tara Setmayer (@TaraSetmayer) November 18, 2018
You get the idea.
A few hours later, as the noise around Trump’s comments to Wallace turned into a thunderous roar, the beleaguered president took to Twitter and dropped this turd of a tweet. (Pun definitely intended.)
So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate, but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2018
He’s talking about Adam Schiff, the U.S. Representative for California who is currently the Ranking Member of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. As the top Democrat in the House of Representatives charged with investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, Schiff has been a thorn in Trump’s side and a semi-frequent target of the president’s rage.
And yes, his name is Schiff. Two Fs. Not what Trump wrote.
Now, it could be a typo. The letters T and F are fairly close to one another on the standard QWERTY keyboard that most smartphones employ. Trump farts out so many tweets on a daily basis, he could have easily punched in the wrong letters.
Or maybe it’s an autocorrect issue. Is the president secretly a fan of the Canadian comedy series, Schitt’s Creek? It could be that he’s texted about it enough that “Schitt” comes up as an autocorrect suggestion.
Of course, given Trump’s rep, both as president and as a human being, the most likely explanation is he committed an intentional typo in the name of juvenile humor. Which, hey, nothing against juvenile humor. But it’s maybe not the right tone to employ publicly when you’re the U.S. president, especially when you’re using it in the context of a comment that some might construe as an obstruction of justice.
Of course, that kind of ridiculous behavior from a grown-ass adult would get people talking about something other than Trump’s egregious put-down of a largely apolitical military veteran’s service.
But what do I know? Maybe it was a typo, or an unwanted autocorrect. As Mashable’s Matt Binder quipped in Slack when we talked about this whole episode, “hard to tell with our very smart 150-dimensional chess playing president.”
Still, social media did its thing and assumed Trump was acting with the worst intentions. In fairness to social media, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that’s the safe assumption. Brace yourself for Trump burns and poop puns. Even Schiff joined in to take his shot.
BREAKING: Trump just called Congressman Adam Schiff “Little Adam Schitt.” This is so disgusting. A toddler for a president. Ridiculous. Absolutely insane. He needs to resign yesterday. What a pathetic disgrace to our country. America deserves better than this whack job man baby.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) November 18, 2018
Dems have the House. Schiff is going to replace Nunes on the Intelligence Committee. The Schitt will hit the fan for Trump in the New Year.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) November 18, 2018
Politics in 2018 is one hell of a ride.