Are You Teasing Me?

August 17, 2016

When someone in our family makes a silly joke, my four-year-son will sometimes blurt out, "Are you teasing me?" On other occasions, he'll make some animal noise to try and scare someone and then reassure us he's not a hungry lion by saying, "I was just teasing you." It's all fun because the jokes are made in love and everyone knows it's just joking.

But the 'I'm-just-joking' defense doesn't always work well. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump keeps proving that. He'll make a hateful, inaccurate comment. When confronted about it, he'll insist it's true and fair. Then, he'll eventually claim it was just sarcasm. 

In July, Trump urged Russian hackers to help get Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's missing emails (a serious scandal she keeps lying about). That's a pretty crazy move as a presidential candidate encouraged foreign hackers to get classified emails and disrupt a presidential election. Even as critics argued his comments approached the realm of treason, he initially stood his ground. Later, however, he claimed he was "being sarcastic."

This month, Trump repeatedly called President Barack Obama the "founder of ISIS." Even when given a chance to walk back the comments by conservative media, Trump insisted he meant it literally. After days of defending his comments amid controversy, he shifted his rhetoric and accused journalists of not understanding his "sarcasm."

I'm starting to wonder if he knows what the word 'sarcasm' means. Trump starts the process by irresponsibly uttering a hateful, inaccurate claim. Only after he apparently tires of defending his indefensible remark does he say it was sarcasm so he can attack his critics and avoid apologizing. That's not teasing or joking or even sarcasm. Such inappropriate rhetoric is just another reason why I wrote my new book, Vote Your Conscience: Party Must Not Trump Principles

Trump's rhetoric is irresponsible and dangerous. But don't take my word for it. Consider this wisdom from Proverbs.