Don’t we all know the drill by now? The minor children of the president are off-limits. That lesson hasn’t been learned by some public figures, apparently, as the Food Network’s John Henson found out the hard way. In order to slam President Trump on Father’s Day, Henson posted an ugly tweet and dragged 14-year-old Barron Trump into the mix.
To be honest, I don’t even know who John Henson is. A quick search tells me he is a comedian, game show host, talk show host, and actor. He was a celebrity guest on Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America where he was a semi-finalist and won money for a charity to which he and his wife contribute. Somehow I’ve missed all of this. That Food Network appearance was back in 2016. Now he is the host Food Network’s “Halloween Baking Championship”
On Father’s Day Henson tweeted this: “I hope Barron [Trump] gets to spend today with whoever his dad is.” I would show you the tweet but Henson has deleted it.
This isn’t even the first time that the paternity of Barron has been questioned. The Queen of Resting Smirk Face, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, herself the daughter of a former public official, questioned if President Trump is the father of Barron during her early morning television show. It doesn’t matter from whom it comes, the ugliness directed at Trump that takes Barron as collateral damage is undeniably hideous. It must be stressful enough growing up in the White House without random D-List celebrities taking shots at the kid on social media.
The last time someone dragged Barron into a slam against President Trump was last December and it was a college professor that time. She did so during a Congressional hearing. Melania Trump soon set the professor straight and told her in no uncertain words to leave her child alone. The First Lady has now spoken up this time, too. Through her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, Melania addressed Henson.
“Sadly we continue to see inappropriate and insensitive comments about the President’s son,” said Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff and spokeswoman for the first lady, in a statement to The Hill on Tuesday.
“As with every other administration, a minor child should be off-limits and allowed to grow up with no judgment or hate from strangers and the media,” the statement continued.
To show what an insincere and unapologetic person he is, Henson doubled down on those criticizing him on social media, of which there were many.
With respect, I think you dissecting it is the issue. The joke was aimed at Trump and the mere mention of Barron’s name doesn’t mean it’s at his expense.
Although I respect your right to take issue with it.
— John Henson (@John_Henson) June 21, 2020
“With respect.” Right. So, no apology from the unfunny comedian, at least as of 1:20 p.m. Central Time as I write this. He wasn’t even man enough to own his mistake and issue a non-apology apology. You know, the kind that goes “I’m sorry if I offended anyone…” He has two kids of his own. I imagine he expects the privacy of his own children to be respected.
As a bonus, Henson tweeted Tuesday that he’s thinking of attacking Kellyanne Conway next.
Thinking about a run of jokes on Kellyanne Conway next.
— John Henson (@John_Henson) June 23, 2020
This is odd timing given that Wednesday morning on Fox and Friends, Kellyanne was asked about the unfunny “joke” tweet. She told Ainsley Earhardt she didn’t even want to bring up Henson’s name and give him a platform after his poor choice of tweets.
“So, Kellyanne, it’s one thing to criticize a president, but it’s another thing to criticize his, or one day her, children,” Earhardt began. “And that’s what happened. This guy John Henson, I used to think he was so funny on Talk Soup, but very disappointed in what he tweeted over the weekend.”
After noting that the tweet, which went out to Henson’s 30,000 followers, has since been deleted, Earhardt put it on screen and read it aloud: “I hope Barron gets to spend today with whoever his dad is.”
“Well, I may part company a little bit with even mentioning this and naming the guy who sent the tweet because I think you’re giving him a platform,” Conway replied as Earhardt started to squirm.
“I thought about that, too,” Earhardt jumped in, scratching her arm, “but it is news.”
“Kids are off limits,” Conway snapped back. “I didn’t even know who he was and now people do.” She went on to say that all children of politicians should be treated like “Fabergé eggs,” reiterating, “They’re off-limits, you don’t touch them, you don’t talk about them. I feel very strongly about that.”
Just leave the kids out of it. Henson wasn’t clever enough to tweet something amusing while bashing Trump, he just took a cheap shot on Father’s Day which, by the very nature of the day, included Barron. Henson isn’t stupid, he knows it. He just doesn’t want to own up to bad judgment and a lousy joke. Perhaps he needs some time to hone his comedic skills.
I don’t watch Food Network regularly. I don’t remember the last time I watched one of its shows. This tweet is pinned to the top of their Twitter account. I didn’t realize how political the network is now, though this is 2020 and I should have expected it.
Food Network and Cooking Channel are committed to being active participants in change. This is just a start. pic.twitter.com/g0fTJrBi9H
— Food Network (@FoodNetwork) June 19, 2020
Perhaps the network would like to make a statement about respect for kids, too.