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A funny historian outclassed Trump

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Ron Chernow, the author of the Alexander Hamilton biography that inspired the hit musical "Hamilton," was invited to speak at the White House Correspondents Dinner in place of a comedian. The historian was well received as he alternated between clever jokes and a call to arms for democracy.

Posted: Apr 28, 2019 5:50 PM
Updated: Apr 28, 2019 5:50 PM

When White House Correspondents' Association President Olivier Knox announced in November that the 2019 White House Correspondents' Dinner would not feature a comedian, as it has done for many years, Trump praised the move on Twitter as a "good first step" and added, "Maybe I will go?"

But Trump ended up skipping the annual event for the third year in a row and instead attended a rally in Wisconsin. And, to be honest, Trump made the right choice.

I say that because presidential historian Ron Chernow, who gave a speech in lieu of a comedian, not only served up some stinging comedic jabs at the President, but he was also funnier than Trump could ever be. And both would've been too much for Trump to handle.

As a reminder, after last year's WHCD, where comedian Michelle Wolf tore into Trump and his press secretary Sarah Sanders, Trump took to Twitter to whine that Wolf was "filthy" and "bombed." But in that tweet, Trump revealed something much more about how deeply it hurts him to be laughed at. The President tweeted that Wolf "couldn't even deliver her lines-much like the Seth Meyers weak performance."

If you are asking why Trump is bringing up NBC's Seth Meyers, it's because when Trump attended the WHCD in 2011, Meyers comically fileted him with jokes like, "Donald Trump said recently that he has a great relationship with 'the blacks.' Although unless 'the blacks' are a family of white people, I bet he is mistaken." These many years later, Trump still feels the sting of that comedic takedown.

Chernow, the author of the Alexander Hamilton biography that inspired the massive hit musical "Hamilton," opened his remarks by joking about Trump's "edict" last Tuesday banning everyone in his administration from attending the dinner. Chernow playfully commented, "I was puzzled by this news, but then I learned a rumor was circulating in Washington that I was going to be reading from the redacted sections of the Mueller report and everything was explained."

Later Chernow, while referencing Trump's recent comment that America "is full" when speaking about immigration, joked that Hamilton was an immigrant who arrived, "thank God, before the country was full." He added, "Frankly I don't know why they let the guy in, clearly someone slipped up at the southern border."

The historian also took aim at Trump's recently reported comments that if George Washington were "smart," he would've put his name on Mount Vernon, with Trump noting, "You've got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you." Chernow remarked, "As best I can tell, Washington committed only one major blunder as President: He failed to put his name on Mount Vernon and thereby bungled an early opportunity at branding." He wryly added, "Clearly deficient at the art of the deal, the poor man had to settle at the lowly title of 'Father of his Country.'"

What a contrast to Trump's attempts at humor at his rally. Trump, like an old-time comedian too lazy to write new material, doled out his "classics" -- calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas" and slamming Sens. Bernie Sanders as "Crazy Bernie." He even said, "Can you imagine any of these people up here doing what I'm doing. ... There'd be 200 people show up, if they were president. If they weren't president, nobody would show up, is that right?"

Another painful attempt at humor was when Trump said his press secretary is "becoming too popular, I'm jealous," as he then mimicked his catch phrase from his years on "The Apprentice" -- declaring, "Sarah, you're fired!"

And in between his attempts at humor, Trump served up his worn-out lines, going after Hillary Clinton for alleged criminal conduct and slamming the late Sen. John McCain for not repealing the Affordable Care Act -- "one man decided to vote against it."

I can only imagine how a rambling Trump at the WHCD would have been received. And making it worse would've been the contrast to Chernow's speech, which was not only funny but also cleverly called out Trump's attacks on the First Amendment, noting, "When you chip away at the press, you chip away at our democracy."

Chernow finished his speech by paraphrasing a line by Mark Twain: "Politicians and diapers must be changed often -- and for the same reason." And in the case of Trump, that tired, unfunny diaper is starting to sag.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 255125

Reported Deaths: 5574
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17197175
Hinds16280322
Harrison13502193
Rankin10749211
Jackson10407183
Lee8819141
Madison8262162
Jones6375110
Forrest5992119
Lauderdale5873180
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Lamar487565
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Warren353498
Union344760
Marshall342665
Neshoba3383152
Pearl River329799
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Lincoln297685
Sunflower284969
Hancock273459
Tate272462
Alcorn264053
Pike263577
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Scott246645
Yazoo245955
Prentiss245652
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Tippah241750
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Marion212072
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Holmes168767
Clay159433
Stone143621
Tallahatchie141034
Clarke138960
Calhoun136121
Smith120823
Yalobusha117034
Walthall112336
Noxubee110522
Greene110229
Montgomery109634
Carroll104521
Lawrence102617
Perry102231
Amite98025
Webster92424
Tunica86721
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis84825
Humphreys83024
Benton81823
Kemper77220
Quitman6918
Franklin66615
Choctaw60513
Wilkinson58425
Jefferson54319
Sharkey43017
Issaquena1596
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 424028

Reported Deaths: 6121
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62258921
Mobile30381549
Madison27160186
Tuscaloosa20779267
Montgomery19049305
Shelby18572114
Baldwin16346182
Lee12515101
Morgan12260113
Etowah11757168
Calhoun11161200
Marshall10199107
Houston8630148
Cullman8036105
Limestone802874
Elmore7849101
DeKalb768897
Lauderdale760083
St. Clair7555120
Talladega6180108
Walker5903174
Jackson581341
Colbert533573
Blount530883
Autauga519855
Coffee443956
Dale398581
Franklin367548
Chilton337665
Russell331710
Covington327768
Escambia319342
Dallas303396
Chambers284269
Clarke282133
Tallapoosa2617107
Pike249429
Marion246250
Lawrence244247
Winston227335
Bibb216247
Geneva202535
Marengo199729
Pickens197031
Hale176442
Barbour173036
Butler170258
Fayette169026
Cherokee160530
Henry154421
Monroe145617
Randolph140735
Washington137726
Clay126745
Crenshaw119544
Lamar118219
Cleburne117723
Macon115035
Lowndes110735
Wilcox103121
Bullock99128
Perry97719
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Sumter89126
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Coosa60515
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