By Robert A. Vella
Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.
Republicans’ unshakable support of President Trump has been the source of much consternation among Americans across the political spectrum leading many to question their personal morality, ethical principles, and devotion to democracy, the rule of law, and the U.S. Constitution. For me, there is no mystery here. Not all, but most Republicans are bound together tribally under the idolatry of Trump much like Evangelicals worship the figure of Jesus. He can do no wrong in their eyes because the very thought of questioning their supreme leader is sacrilegious to those who adhere to ideologies based on social hierarchy. And, the current expression of Republican ideology takes social hierarchy to an extreme place where the right to rule is reserved only for rich white Christian fundamentalists who can govern as arbitrarily as they see fit.
However, such self-indulgent authoritarianism deserves both condemnation and mockery; and, the latter was performed exquisitely yesterday on Saturday Night Live.
In a spoof of Meet The Press with Kyle Mooney playing host Chuck Todd, Saturday Night Live took on the latest President Trump issues for the cold open. The sketch included several impressions of GOP members, including Beck Bennett playing Senator Mitch McConnell; Cecily Strong playing Senator Susan Collins; and Kate McKinnon — who Mooney’s Todd called “the GOP’s latest bad boy,” — as Lindsey Graham.
Mooney’s Todd started by asking the panelists about Trump’s increasingly fraught relationship with China. When he threw a question about the tariffs out, Bennett’s McConnell instinctively answered “there was no collusion,” despite that not being the topic. McKinnon’s Graham then called Trump a “financial genius and a business Jesus.”
“If Trump open hand slaps you in the face, what would you say then?” Mooney’s Todd asked. “Harder, daddy,” McKinnon’s Graham replied.
Watch the skit here:
The San Francisco Police Department is under public scrutiny after it broke into the home of freelance reporter Bryan Carmody, handcuffed him for several hours, and confiscated his electronic devices and other possessions. Carmody, you see, had published the contents of a confidential police report given to him by an anonymous source which detailed the recent death of the city’s public defender Jeff Adachi, and he had refused to identify the source to the SFPD or to the FBI.
The raid on Carmody’s home and office drew wide First Amendment-related attention in the Bay Area over the weekend. And it added a new twist to the intrigue that surrounded the death of Adachi, who had built up a high profile as a public defender in the 16 years he had held the office.
The only elected public defender in California, Adachi was known as an watchdog on police misconduct. His death, on Feb. 22, at the age of 59, was attributed in early reports to a heart attack.
Then more information came to light.
On Feb. 24, ABC 7 published a story after it said it obtained a police report and photos about Adachi’s death, which included unflattering details about the public defender’s last hours. The story reported that he had been with a woman named Caterina — not his wife — and that he was found unresponsive in an apartment with “an unmade bed, empty bottles of alcohol, cannabis gummies, and two syringes that may have been left by paramedics.”
The publication of those details, which did little to illuminate the nature of Adachi’s death and more to call into question his character, prompted some to wonder if the police department was retaliating against Adachi, even after his death.
Indeed, why would the police engage in a propaganda smear campaign to discredit a deceased public defender whom had a history of exposing their misconduct? Are they hiding something?