Donald Trump is catching some heat today, after he reacted badly to being mocked by President Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last night. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that the real estate mogul can’t take a joke. People who are so delusional about their own greatness usually can’t.
Which brings us to President Obama’s comedy routine. The audience seemed to have lapped it up, but once again the president showed that he’s not great at self-deprecation. Most of his act focused on the low hanging fruit—Trump, Michele Bachmann, Fox News. But here’s the president’s brief attempt at self-mockery:
Yes, I think it is fair to say that when it comes to my presidency, the honeymoon is over. (Laughter.) For example, some people now suggest that I’m too professorial. And I’d like to address that head-on, by assigning all of you some reading that will help you draw your own conclusions. (Laughter.) Others say that I’m arrogant. But I’ve found a really great self-help tool for this: my poll numbers.
Haha! Get it? He’s professorial and arrogant. Is this seriously the hardest he can be on himself? Those aren’t even new criticisms, much less the serious complaints that many Americans have about him.
President George W. Bush was notorious for his self-deprecating humor at the White House Correspondents’ Dinners—his famous skit with his Saturday Night Live Doppelgänger is a prime example. To pull off this type of comedy, you need a canny perception of your public image, and a deep understanding of your flaws. You also need a thick skin. The Bush administration rarely responded to criticism, but the president’s acts during these dinners made it clear that he was fully aware of his reputation.
Obama’s avoidance of any serious self-deprecation can mean one of three things: (1.) He’s clueless about why his approval ratings are dropping. (2.) His staffers who helped draft the speech are unwilling to inform him of the serious complaints Americans have about him. (3.) He’s aware of his public image, but too thin-skinned to joke about it. Whatever the reason, it looks like Trump isn’t the only one who can’t take a joke.