Boston radio host Howie Carr wrote a breathless piece about how he’s not a racist, but is friends with Donald Trump. At least one of those things appears to be true.
The story, at the Boston Herald, is a messy and defensive non-apology about Carr’s decision to mock Senator Elizabeth Warren with a "war whoop." More importantly, the rant culminates with one of the strangest "compliments" of the 2016 election cycle.
After making a "joke" about how anti-Trump protestors don’t have jobs — crass assumptions about economic troubles! hysterical! — Carr quotes one of their signs:
"RACIST SEXIST BIGOT FASCIST XENOPHOBE ISLAMOPHOBE TRUMP."
On the plane, I mentioned this to Trump. He waved his hand dismissively.
"Hillary’s called me a ‘xenophobe’ a few times. How many people even know what the word means? Same with ‘nativist.’ "
It was fun being on the Boeing 757 with Trump. Before the flight from Boston to Bangor, he’d ordered lunch for the crew — McDonald’s all the way. Not an affectation like Hillary at Chipotle — he tore off the buns ("Do you know how many calories you save that way?") and then doused the patties with ketchup before gobbling them down.
He travels in an easy chair in front of a large TV screen turned to Fox. He reads until his name is mentioned by one of the anchors. Given how he dominates the coverage, this doesn’t leave him much time for reading.
Reading this excerpt for a third and fourth time, my brain is like a kitten, trying to unravel one thread before getting distracted by another. Carr deserves credit for packing so much into such little space.
First, this is the best press Chipotle has received in months. Not one mention of the words "outbreak," "e. coli," or "salmonella." Carr paints Chipotle like it’s the fast food restaurant of the people, coopted by Clinton for populace cred. Good for Chipotle. A win's a win, and nobody knows that better than the Trump campaign.
Second, and you know, maybe this should have been first: who responds to accusations of being a xenophobe with "How many people even know what that word means?" The natural and immediate response — assuming one is not xenophobic, or at least would rather not be perceived as such — is, "No, I am not a xenophobe."
"Doused the patties with ketchup before gobbling"
Third, McDonald's is not a treat. McDonald's is what parents get their kids because, look, it was a long day at work, this the fastest option on the way home, and the words "dollar menu" have a certain frugal appeal. McDonald's is the food equivalent of a Snoopy bandage. It’s cute. It’s available. It’s not a longterm solution.
Follow-up: As someone who is mildly afraid of the miracle of flight, I would buy my pilots and crew something nice. Like a steak, a fresh salad, or if I’m feeling like a conduit of the people, Chipotle.
Fourth, you can’t talk about Donald Trump’s love for McDonald's as a signifier of an everyman, then, in the same paragraph, compliment the guy for cutting calories by scrapping the bun.
Fifth, if your buddy eats McDonald's by bare palming a naked beef patty slathered in ketchup, you do not share that with the world. And if you do, you most certainly don’t use the verb "gobble."
Sixth, "given how he dominates the coverage, this doesn’t leave him much time for reading." Just imagine: we could one day turn to a President who doesn’t read, because he’s a modern Narcissus, hopelessly caught in his own cable news reflection.
With friends like this, who needs enemies?