Say what you like about Donald Trump, but the man’s a real innovator when it comes to the fields of petty grudges and small-hearted bullshit. Yesterday, Trump proved his passive aggressive bona fides yet again during a Halloween event for White House journalists, who were invited to bring their kids to the Oval Office for a little trick-or-treating. It was a simple, puff-piece bit of human interest fun, the sort of thing his predecessor excelled at treating like it was the glorious highlight of his year. And still, on what was clearly his closest approximation of “good behavior,” Trump couldn’t resist slipping in a few barbs at the press.
“I cannot believe the media produced such beautiful children,” Trump said to a room full of reporters and their kids, as he continually prodded at the journalists in the room. From a president with a less combative relationship with the press, lines like asking a kid, “So, how does the press treat you? I’ll bet you get treated better by the press than anybody in the world, right?” might have come off as a fun bit of teasing, but in Trump’s mouth it’s hard not to hear the contempt and “fake news” obsession lurking behind his words. And we have honestly no idea what to make of him telling a kid “You have no weight problems, that’s the good news, right?” as he handed them some Hershey’s Kisses. (Also, it is just us, or does Trump not seem to know who the kid in the Darth Vader mask is supposed to be? Even if he somehow managed to miss the entirety of Star Wars—which we could almost buy, given that it falls outside his “media that is exclusively about Donald Trump” worldview—you’d think Steve Bannon would have clued him in.)