Part of what people both love and loathe about Donald Trump is that he often speaks without a filter. It’s what makes him a different kind of president, for good or for ill.
One of the more negative recent examples was Trump’s rambling take on the Charlottesville melee, which he offered at a press conference that was supposed to focus on infrastructure. Going off script at length, Trump seemed to back off from an earlier statement in which he had more fully condemned the white nationalists in Charlottesville after days of the public perceiving presidential ambivalence on the subject. The fallout from that press conference was a mess. I actually felt sorry for the White House staff.
But the president spoke before he thought, as he is prone to do.
That’s what Tomi Lahren does too. Lahren, it was announced Wednesday, will be joining Fox News as a contributor.
She’s a perfect choice.
Those who are fans of Tomi Lahren aren’t looking to be informed. They want to feel good. They want to cheer. They want to boo. They want to be entertained. Perhaps above all, they want an outlet for their anger. As Rare’s Matt Purple wrote almost a year ago, “Lahren is emblematic of too many conservatives, who sit around and wait for a pretext to be outraged so they can spit dilophosaur venom at the camera.”
Last year, Lahren was on many political observer’s minds while her profile as a host at The Blaze rose in the heat of the presidential election. I observed at the time:
Lahren’s conservative critics say she’s substanceless and simply eager to incite her viewers over just about anything.
Lahren’s behavior is often shameless and even embarrassing. She consistently reacts to the controversy of the day according to whatever predictable right wing script she thinks conservatives are obligated to regurgitate. With Lahren, it’s always ferocity over fairness, nonstop and without fail. The uglier, the better.
But isn’t reacting viscerally to every controversy of the day or moment exactly what our president does on Twitter? Isn’t hewing closely to predictable right wing scripts — however antiquated or out of the step with today’s Republican Party those positions might be — pretty much how Trump has governed thus far?
Isn’t Donald Trump in many ways basically the White House version of Tomi Lahren?
RARE POV: Sympathy for Tomi Lahren
Not that this is, by any means, the totality of the president. We tend to remember the outrageous or off-putting things Trump has done or said, while forgetting that he also has the ability to behave in a presidential manner. For example, once you take out the awkward “What a crowd” comments from his Hurricane Harvey address in Houston on Tuesday, Trump sounded like the leader of the United States. He’s capable of it. It’s just not what we remember most.
Similarly, Lahren occasionally has something worthwhile to say. But it’s not what she’s known for. It is not what has made her famous.
Spouting off is. Just like our president.