Rep. Scalise to Ben Rhodes: Stop daydreaming about Republican 'obits'

Wednesday, President Trump posted a photo on Instagram showing himself, Vice President Pence, Speaker Paul Ryan, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell giving a thumbs up in the Oval Office, obviously to celebrate the passage of the tax bill. Last night, former Obama communications adviser Dan Pfeiffer sent out a snarky tweet mocking the photo by suggesting it would look great on the front page of the NY Times “the day Trump is indicted.”

Pfeiffer is chanting “Lock him up!” in so many words. I seem to recall that was in bad taste as recently as last year, but maybe the rules apply differently to Trump as President than they do to Hillary as a candidate. In any case, former Obama foreign policy advisor Ben Rhodes, a man who once said of his work in the White House, “I don’t know anymore where I begin and Obama ends” (Eww!), decided to take the mockery to another level by envisioning the obits of three of the people in the photo:

As you can see, Rhodes got plenty of blowback for that statement. Some suggested he was hoping for their death which isn’t exactly right. He’s not wishing for them to die but he is envisioning their deaths as something which might amuse him. It’s not eliminationist rhetoric, more like I’ll-dance-on-your-grave rhetoric. You can bet that if any member of Trump’s team had said something like this about former President Obama, Rhodes et. al. would have missed all of that nuance. But again…the rules differ.

Paul Ryan’s press secretary responded to the statement:

In response, hundreds of left-wingers chimed in, many suggesting they couldn’t wait for Ryan’s obituary and some wishing for his death. This morning, Rep. Steve Scalise had something to say to Rhodes as well:

He’s not going too far with this. There’s no accusation there. He’s just suggesting maybe Rhodes should tone it down with the ‘obit’ talk. For some reason, Jonathan Chait felt the need to jump in and defend Rhodes:

He’s so clever! But someone quickly pointed out the obvious:

It’s odd that Jonathan Chait, who gets paid to explain things, can’t seem to grok the context here. Rep. Scalise survived an assassination attempt by a man who reveled in left-wing internet memes and harsh rhetoric about Trump and the GOP. Scalise isn’t some pampered, lefty college kid demanding a safe space because of a nebulous threat posed by a campus speech he’s not even required to attend. He almost died six months ago. So maybe this isn’t the guy to Chait should accuse of striking a cheap partisan pose or of being overly-sensitive.

Getting back to Ben Rhodes, have I mentioned that the same rules don’t apply to former Obama advisers as to everyone else? Rhodes isn’t taking his tweet down because that would be an admission he crossed a red line of sorts and Obama’s people really hate admitting those exist. Besides, it was the world’s red line…or something.

Wow, it really is hard to tell where Ben Rhodes begins and Obama ends.