Considering his slow death by subpoena, Trump has to find joy where he can get it. Glorifying a redeemed Tiger Woods is about as fun as his job gets these days.
It wasn’t exactly an Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month ceremony, but Trump scored an ace when he honored Woods with the highest honor a civilian can get in America.
Facetime with a disgraced president?
No, that would be tying around Woods’ neck that Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In Britain, they would simply knight you “Sir Tiger.” In America, you get medaled. Under this president, you get trumped.
And Trump used Tiger all right.
But let’s not tarnish the honor totally.
Not many Asian Americans have the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the revered PMOF).
By my unofficial count (forgive me if I’ve left off a name), but the first Asian American to win appears to have been computer scientist and inventor An Wang of Wang Labs fame in 1986 from Ronald Reagan. It was seven years before the next AAPI winner, Hong Kong-raised architect I.M. Pei in 1993 from Bush the First. There wasn’t another winner until internment fighter Fred Korematsu (1998, Clinton). Then came eight years before the man who won reparations for Japanese Americans, AAPI political icon Norm Mineta (double cabinet member, Clinton and Bush) received the award in 2006 (G.W. Bush).
Yet another Asian American drought period lasted until the Obama years. Then came the veritable flood of recognition starting with cellist Yo-Yo Ma (my Harvard classmate) in 2011; followed by another internment fighter Gordon Hirabayashi in 2012, Congressional leader Patsy Mink in 2014. And then Obama left and Trump looked around and thought Tiger could help him out in 2019.
That’s a short list. And you can bet the short list for all that was shorter still. Though clearly it all depends on how woke the president is.
And so it’s a good thing the current resident of the White House likes golf.
In his remarks, Trump hailed Woods’ Masters achievement in 1997 at 270 strokes, the lowest score in the tournament’s history, and then put it in an AAPI Heritage Month context: “At 21 years old, he became the youngest Masters champion of all time and the first person of African American or Asian heritage to win the storied tournament.”
That’s something. A small thing, but still something.
Considering how diversity-blind the president is, with appointees like Betsy DeVos, right-wing ideologues advising on immigration, the census, voting rights, and all of it on top of his naturally low diversity IQ, you have to be thankful when you sense a slight pulse of recognition.
Not many do.
Still, as I watched the ceremony on a Periscoped-video feed from the White House, something just didn’t feel right.
Like when Trump said, “Tiger Woods is a global symbol of American excellence, devotion, and drive.”
Was that last word a reference to Tiger’s 2017 DUI arrest?
We can always go back to his philandering days that ended his marriage and brought Tiger down to size. But as someone who revered his accomplishment in 1997, I admit to being hopeful about Tiger’s most recent comeback in his recent Masters victory.
Still, the Masters is different from winning a PMOF.
The PMOF is a big deal. But it comes a little too soon after Tiger’s original fall from grace, I thought.
Then I saw that Bill Cosby was awarded this same presidential award back in 2002.
The very same advocate of Quaaludes as a dating tool who is now serving jail time.
It’s a reminder that it’s just a medal. Not sainthood.
But it still doesn’t feel right. Who’s next on Trump’s PMOF giveaway–Louis C.K.?
TRUMP’S ANXIETY MEDICINE
If it all feels off, just remember this is the Trump administration, after all.
I’d rather see him give Tiger an award than imagine the pres speaking to his Fox friends on his TV screen.
Trump needed Tiger on Monday. Like Obama said, we want to see our president do well, right?
If you want to see the best part of Donald Trump, just make sure it involves golf. He knows golf.
Leadership? Governance? Rule of law? The essentials of our democracy? Forget it.
But ask him about golf. And the guy can go on for hours about hitting a white ball into a small hole.
That’s his problem. He has the keys to our nation and to the White House, and all he really wants to be is the star of “Caddyshack.”
Just watch that ceremony with Tiger from Monday. Trump loves golf. He has little interest in anything else. Strippers, models, and beauty pageant contestants maybe. Everything else, he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t care. History? Golf history, sure. World history? Does that involve reading?
The guy is the least qualified person ever to serve as president.
Trump fills his head with the faux news of his de facto propaganda machine, then hires rabid ideologues in key positions over whom he holds his big thumb.
Tax returns? Not over Mnuchin’s dead body.
And nothing like having Attorney General William Barr to carry the tune while playing Trump’s sackbut.
Does he make you nostalgic for Jeff Sessions, who would gladly carry the sackbut but not blow it?
Read the Mueller Report to confirm the chaos that reigns in the White House. All the previous books only hinted at it. None of them were under oath like the subjects in what should be Exhibit A in any assessment of the Trump administration.
Trump regularly eschews fact and U.S. intelligence to trust the leaders of enemy nations.
After two years, and 10,000 lies, Trump has hit his presidential golf ball deep in the woods and he can’t get out.
He’s running out of mulligans.
Subpoenas are coming left and right. All he can do is swing wildly and hope that the club hits Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer on the backswing, as his little white ball finds its way on to the course.
That’s why Trump must have enjoyed that time with Tiger at the White House on Monday.
For him, time on the job doesn’t get any better than that. Really.
And that’s the crying shame for our country and the world.
But at least he mentioned Tiger’s Asianness.
He sort of sees us. Unless you’re part of the tariff warpath.
Then who knows? Do we wave a white flag and let them know we’re not foreigners?
Must be taxing for the Asian Americans who stand by Trump. (There are a few of them out there.)
For the rest of us, it’s just pathetic to see Trump hold court.
I bet you he doesn’t even realize May is AAPI Heritage Month.