Melania Trump personifies humility and dignity. She deserves better than she is getting from the media. Bluntly, the American people are getting sick of it.
Using the first lady as the brunt of late night jokes — as a surrogate for the media’s visceral dislike of her husband, is clueless, classless, ironic and likely to cost the Democrats votes.
Objectively, Mrs. Trump speaks six languages, grew up in troubled Slovenia, and was raised in a modest apartment by blue collar parents. She was secretly baptized, in an overtly communist country.
She worked hard, found her way to Western Europe and then to America. She is, if nothing else, a single-minded mother, proud naturalized American, and model first lady. Her marriage to President Trump is just further testimony to her traditionalism, loyalty, patience and peaceable nature.
In recent days, she has showcased enormous class, poise and peace, qualities lacking in her self-impressed media detractors, self-possessed Hollywood actors, and self-obsessed comic malefactors.
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel takes the cake. He simply does not like the first lady, or her husband, coincidentally our president. He has made that crystal clear. He especially did not like them on Easter.
Replaying the first lady reading a book to children at the White House Easter egg roll, the cocky comedian mocked the first lady’s immigrant roots, tried to diminish her and stir ridicule for her. He thought it was funny. He made clear — he does not like her, or her accent.
Well, so be it. The president and first lady seem content to let the vocal, anti-American left — of which Mr. Kimmel is an example — be themselves, and politically incorrect. Credit to them both for that.
As Vice President Mike Pence said to his children when senselessly shouted down after a “Hamilton” performance, “That is what freedom sounds like.”
But much of America was not happy to see a quiet, thoughtful, inherently decent person and our first lady shamelessly bashed, belligerently taken down— and for what? Growing up in a tough part of the world, managing to summon can-do to get to America, earning and learning, living the American dream?
Her accent — that is the basis on which Americans should now harshly judge each other? Are all those moderate Democrats, Republicans and Independents, the decent average folks who live across this great country, now “OK” with trashing another American for their accent?
Is it open season on the 7 million Americans naturalized over the past 10 years, many of whom bring an accent? Or the 65,000 immigrants who serve in military uniform, who have pledged to lay down their life for us — and for you, Mr. Kimmel?
OK to trash their accent too, like the first lady’s, for laughs, ratings, bucks?
Well, to be clear, that is your right as an American, and that is why we have that vaunted First Amendment. But one does wonder if you see the way most of us see what you did? I think not.
On Sunday, one week later, Mr. Kimmel tweeted what media friends call an “apology” to the first lady. Even that is interesting. It is not what I taught my kids was an apology for something they should have known better than do.
The average American is hard-pressed to see Mr. Kimmel’s “apology” as anything but arrogance. Saying he thinks his slam, the simple ethnic slur, was “harmless and silly,” he then adds: “The first lady almost certainly has enough to worry about without being used as a prop to increase TV ratings.” Done.
Apology? Never mind the backhanded plug, since his ratings are likely falling — this is pure self-serving mush. The bulk of his “apology” was a grouse that the slam created “vitriol” from others, causing him to endure “vile” and “shocking” reactions to his comments.
What do they say about the kitchen? If the heat is too much, get out. But he won’t. Making too much money. And that is real irony in this little incident. The mainstream media do not get it. They are way out of sync with America.
Mr. Kimmel himself grew up in Mill Basin, an area of Brooklyn, New York predominantly Italian, which reportedly had 10 African Americans at the time of the 1990 census — not 10 percent, just 10.
Then the added irony that “Kimmel” is a transliteration of “Kummel” in German, meaning caraway seed, heavily used in foreign lands, especially countries of the former Yugoslavia, of which Slovenia was part. My guess is Mr. Kimmel’s immigrant ancestors arrived on American shores with a trace of accent.
The kicker is this: While Melania Trump will weather the media’s classless attacks, and is plainly aware they are more about her husband’s conservative policies than her modest accent, mainstream media outlets still do not get it.
Taking catty, lowlife, comic shots at America’s quiet, thoughtful and dignified first lady simply generates sympathy and support for the Trump administration. It does nothing to advance the cause of the left, or to make big bucks for base comedians. But alas, perhaps 2018 will be the year of the last laugh.
• Robert Charles is a former assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement in the George W. Bush administration.
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