It is not every day that the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association finds itself in the middle of political controversy, let alone one involving Donald Trump going completely off the rails. Founded in 1853, the Association is a small, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that preserves George Washington’s historic Virginia home. This week, Politico caused a stir when it exposed details of the current president’s “truly bizarre” trip to the first president’s home with French President Emmanuel Macron a year ago.
Politico’s reporting revealed quite a bit about Donald Trump through the lens of his brief Mount Vernon visit. If you believe the reporting, then it means Trump is an egotistical real estate developer who is obsessed with seeing his name on buildings. Apparently, when Trump learned on the tour that Washington was a major speculator, he expressed confusion as to why Washington did not name his home for himself. It also means that Trump easily gets bored when it comes to history. Not only did the guide reportedly have trouble holding Trump’s interest over the 45-minute tour, the Macrons appeared to be “far more knowledgeable about the history of the property than the president.” Finally, it means Trump is someone who is particularly interested in wealth because he asked the guide whether Washington was “really rich.”
Normally, revelations that paint the President of the United States as a world-class buffoon would be both unusual and shocking. But Politico’s reporting on Trump’s behavior during his Mount Vernon tour, while no doubt embarrassing to him, is remarkably believable. Unfortunately, because the reporting relies on several unnamed sources, it is ripe for being targeted by Trump and his friends as fake news.
Sure enough, hours after the Politico story dropped, the Association released a clarifying statement. If you read it fast, the statement appears to dispute the truthfulness and accuracy of Politico’s reporting. But read it slowly and you will see it is obviously a carefully crafted, strategic message aimed at calming the irascible temperament of a man-child. The letter offers just enough cover to Trump so that he may declare yet another supposed victory over the so-called horrible, fake news media to his gullible supporters. Sure enough, Trump’s self-proclaimed vindication came late last night in the form of a tweet: “A Fake Story by Politico. Made up sources. Thank you Mount Vernon!” George Washington must be turning in his grave.