The Democrat National Committee reportedly got into a tiff with comedian and “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus last year over an anti-Trump dementia joke she’d written for her Democrat National Convention speech.
However, you’d be mistaken to assume the beef was a result of the committee caring an iota about someone attacking and mocking then-President Donald Trump.
Rather, the DNC reportedly complained about the comedian’s dementia joke primarily because they worried it’d draw attention to then-presumptive-Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden’s own cognitive failures, according to a report from Vanity Fair magazine.
Published Friday, the report documented a fascinating phone call in August of 2020, the month of the convention, between Dave Mandel, the leading producer of “Veep,” and Stephanie Cutter, the convention’s chief program executive.
According to Vanity Fair, roughly an hour before Louis-Dreyfus was set to deliver her convention speech from her home in Los Angeles (the convention was virtual), Cutter reached out to Mandel “to talk about the script” his team had drafted for the comedian.
“Louis-Dreyfus thought she could land some body blows on Donald Trump, with a big smile on her face, because, as a comedian and someone outside the political realm, there were things she could say that wouldn’t wear as well on a politician,” Vanity Fair reported.
“Louis-Dreyfus planned to say that Joe Biden understood hard work and struggle, while ‘the only time Donald Trump has struggled is walking down a ramp and trying to drink a glass of water.’”
The apparent joke was in reference to what happened earlier that summer when Trump used two hands instead of one to drink a glass of water. His critics in the media predictably responded by raising concerns about his mental and physical health.
The then-president later trolled them over it:
Trump trolls media with one-handed water sip, surprises all when he tosses glass https://t.co/0R2OnrHiyC pic.twitter.com/kl2nhG4MpN
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 21, 2020
Initially, Cutter’s team told Louis-Dreyfus’s joke writers that the joke didn’t fit in the time spot they’d cut out for it. After the writers subsequently just moved the joke, thinking that would solve the issue, Cutter then directly intervened.
In her call with Mandel, she “demanded to know why the joke had been reinserted in a new place,” according to Vanity Fair.
“You told us it didn’t work in the other spot,” Mandel reportedly replied.
“Well, you can’t do it anywhere,” Cutter reportedly snapped back.
This prompted Mandel to ask what her beef with the joke was. Cutter responded by reportedly saying that “ridiculing Trump’s faculties could remind viewers that Trump portrayed Biden as senile,” as reported by Vanity Fair.
“We’re not opening the dementia thing,” was the only direct quote from Cutter that the outlet cited.
Mandel reportedly responded by arguing that preempting the GOP’s rhetoric about frail Biden could be helpful to the presumptive nominee.
“You not opening the dementia thing is not going to prevent the Republicans from doing it till the end of time,” he reportedly tried to explain.
Long story short, he eventually caved and agreed to rewrite the joke as follows: “Donald Trump thinks ‘self-made’ means inheriting only half a billion dollars from your dad.”
However, it doesn’t appear as if she ever actually made the joke:
According to Vanity Fair, Cutter had also been concerned about risque jokes distracting “from the blandness of the convention.”
And yes, the DNC apparently wanted the convention to be dull and unsubstantive. In that regard, the commission was remarkably successful:
DNC mocked for ‘celebrity’ host: ‘Always with the theatrics but no substance’ https://t.co/jJytJwolmb via @BIZPACReview
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) August 18, 2020
Months later, and with Biden now in office as president, concerns about his cognitive abilities (or the lack thereof) still persist, notwithstanding the DNC’s decision last year to make a fuss over Louis-Dreyfus’s joke.
If anything, the concerns have only grown amid endless gaffes from the president, not to mention his decision to allow Vice President Kamala Harris to essentially handle his foreign policy responsibilities.
Fox News host Sean Hannity has been particularly vocal with his concerns.
“We know that he rarely appears in public, we know that he takes very few questions, we know he hasn’t even scheduled a joint session of Congress for the State of the Union address,” the Fox News host said this week on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
Traditionally, the SOTU address is delivered during the last week of January or first week of February. Yet it’s almost March and the president has yet to even schedule it.
‘Who’s really in charge?’: Hannity questions leadership over VP Harris’ foreign policy role https://t.co/Vkhs7fiNyt pic.twitter.com/P2gxy6UT9k
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 27, 2021
“This week he struggled mightily to read off a cheat sheet. It was frankly embarrassing and hard to watch, and we could all see with our own eyes that Joe is frail, he is weak and yes, he’s struggling cognitively,” Hannity continued.
“Even a few dozen Democrats now are trying to take away the nuclear codes from Joe Biden so it’s not in the hands of just him, one person. They never even tried that with Trump. And the vice president’s now holding one-on-one calls with other world leaders, so what’s really going on here, who’s in charge?” he then asked.
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