Sorry folks – Despite the impression given by the viral resurfacing of the infamous video from the 2011 White House correspondent’s dinner, U.S. President elect Donald Trump did not run for election because of a roasting by President Obama.
Certainly, in the context of the Donald Trump election success, the video is cringeworthy. It’s not difficult to understand how many of his supporters see it as undeniable proof that Trump was angered by the apparent disrespect dished out by President Obama and Seth Meyers in their roasting that night. After all, he barely cracks a smile, while the majority (but not all) of the audience around him laughs.
You can watch a full 20 minutes of the speech from C-SPAN HERE, or if you just want to see the truly cringeworthy parts, then check out the concise version below which is making the rounds at the moment.
Admittedly, when I first spotted this video in a news feed today, I jumped to the obvious conclusion that ridicule begets revenge and oh, what an exquisite revenge. Watching the video I felt my face flush with embarrassment, as if I were sitting right next to a highly unamused Donald Trump.
Soon afterwards I began to think about this video in terms of data for my own research into laughter and ideas started to spring to mind. However, before I could even take out a notebook and pen, I came across this article, written by Roxanne Roberts, in the Style section of the Washington Post – titled ‘I sat next to Donald Trump at the infamous 2011 White House correspondents’ dinner’. Her article put to rest much of the excitement I had about using this video as a wonderful example of the potential harm of laughter of ridicule.
This article was not written today as a reaction to the viral videos. It is dated April 28th. This fact certainly convinces me that this as unbiased a report of what actually happened that night as we are likely to get. Clearly Roxanne Roberts has great insight, because she knew how important it was to clear up the confusion about Donald Trump’s reaction to the roasting.
Even as far back as April, people were assuming that Donald Trump had made a definitive decision to run for presidency as some sort of defiant revenge for the mocking he received that night. As Roberts stated in the piece ‘The only person who knows definitively when or why he decided to run is Trump.’
In response to the growing speculation about the matter, Trump told Roberts, “It’s such a false narrative…I had a phenomenal time. I had a great evening.”
Later in the piece, Roberts asked Trump ‘Any lingering scars from 2011?’, to which he responded – “There are many reasons I’m running, but that’s not one of them.”
There you have it, straight from the mouth of the man himself. While it’s appealing and in some ways entertaining to draw conclusions, make inferences and invent all sorts of theories around this video and the effect of the roasting upon Trump, for me the matter is put to rest.
Thank you Roxanne Roberts.