While we have since corrected the mistake by electing President Biden, the United States will always be on some level the nation that placed a crooked, washed-up game show host in charge of the world’s most powerful military. Four years of Donald Trump inured many of us to this incredibly absurd reality but today we received a stark reminder of the fact that America chose a D-list celebrity to lead us.
Trump, who has mostly maintained radio silence as an ex-president due in large part to his lifetime ban from Twitter, officially resigned from the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) last Thursday. The labor union represents some of the biggest stars in film and television as well as some bottom of the barrel “talent” like Trump. The former president has been a member for three decades.
SAG-AFTRA’s board convened in January and ruled that Trump “violated the union’s Constitution,” citing his role in the Capitol insurrection as well as his anti-journalist rhetoric (SAG-AFTRA represents journalists). The matter was passed along to the union’s Disciplinary Committee which seemed poised to expel him. By resigning preemptively Trump is clearly trying to save himself the embarrassment of being officially reprimanded and removed from the organization. It has major “You can’t fire me, I quit!” energy coursing throughout.
More interesting than Trump’s pathetic rationale for resigning is the content of the letter itself. The document is publicly available on SAG-AFTRA’s website and it showcases the disgraced former president in all of his raging, narcissistic, aggrieved glory. It starts off by addressing the Disciplinary Committee hearing with a: “Who cares!” Obviously, Trump cares or he wouldn’t have sent the letter.
The letter goes on to insist that Trump himself isn’t “familiar” with the work of SAG-AFTRA’s President Gabrielle Carteris but that he’s “very proud” of his cameo roles in “Home Alone 2, Zoolander, and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” as well as television shows like “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Saturday Night Live.” He bragged that The Apprentice was “one of the most successful shows in television history,” a dubious claim at best.
He eventually pivots from stroking his own ego to actually explaining his resignation by slamming the “blatant attempt at free media attention” the union is supposedly engaging in by holding him accountable for trying to overthrow American democracy. He insists that the union “has done little for its members” despite the fact that it has a sterling reputation amongst those members who actually have talent and land consistent work. As proof of his aspersions, he pointed to “massive unemployment rates,” a particularly ironic barb since American unemployment numbers are so high right now because Trump botched the government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“You have done nothing for me,” the letter ultimately concludes, a statement which ironically perfectly encapsulates the feeling most Americans have towards Trump himself. This man was once the most powerful individual in the entire world and he’s been reduced to penning letters about his imagined glory days as a tertiary supporting character in movies that would be every bit as good if he were digitally removed from them.
— Paul Blumenthal (@PaulBlu) February 4, 2021
Now, SAG-AFTRA has decided that Trump’s departure from the union will be permanent. Over the weekend, the SAG-AFTRA National Board held a Zoom meeting during which they passed a resolution to bar Trump from seeking re-admission into the organization. The resolution cited the president’s support of the Capitol insurrection, referencing “well-documented actions by Donald J. Trump to undermine the peaceful transition of power in the United States.” His repeated rhetorical attacks on journalists were also cited.
“Preventing Donald Trump from ever rejoining SAG-AFTRA is more than a symbolic step. It is a resounding statement that threatening or inciting harm against fellow members will not be tolerated. An attack against one is an attack against all,” said President of SAG-AFTRA Gabrielle Carteris.
Normally, we could expect a raging tweet from Trump after something like this but thanks to his ban he’ll be forced to stew in silence. Serves him right.
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