We all knew that Trump would respond after getting owned by Streep, but we actually got two Trump responses for the price of one. Hours before Trump went on Twitter, he told a New York Times reporter that he was “not surprised” because she was a “Hillary lover” and the Globes were full of “liberal movie people.” Then came the tweets:
The response from the right has been to dismiss Streep’s comments on the grounds that she is an elite and that this election proved once and for all that “normal Americans” (white people in the middle of the country) hate all elites, including actors they watch regularly in movies and TV. The impulse is to absorb Streep’s comments into a pre-existing narrative and therefore neuter them. Trump was able to channel that argument in his conversation with the Times.
But then he trampled on his own message. The problem is that Streep directly cited an incident that voters in August found to be his worst offense: His mocking of disabled New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski. (This was before the Billy Bush tape, but it probably still ranks in the top two.) Trump’s explanation makes no sense if you look into the incident even briefly—Kovaleski did not change a 16-year-old story and Trump is clearly making fun of his disability. Trump’s follow-up response is different from his first response in that it is simply stupid and damaging.