On Wednesday pop singer Madonna was trending on social media. Not because she dropped a new single, had a “wardrobe malfunction” or for anything controversial or provocative that the Material Girl did – rather because she was called out by a GOP lawmaker.
It happened after Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) took to the floor of the House of Representatives during the debate to impeach President Donald J. Trump for inciting the riot that resulted in the breach of the Capitol Building a week earlier.
During his speech Buck said, “The socialists in Hollywood joined their allies in Congress. Robert De Niro said that he wanted to punch the president in the face. Madonna thought about blowing up the White House. Kathy Griffin held up a likeness of the president’s beheaded head, and nothing was said by my colleagues at that point in time.”
Those words have largely been called out as a poor defense of President’s Trump efforts to incite violence last week, but it should be noted that a lot of negative things have been said about the President and his supporters even before he took office.
According to a CNN report from 2017, Madonna basically said “Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House. But I know that this won’t change anything. We cannot fall into despair.”
Soon after making that statement during the Women’s March on Washington, Madonna said her words were taken out of context.
Now those words have come back and not to haunt the singer. In fact, many on social media see a distinction between what Madonna and other celebrities said vs. what the president said last Wednesday.
The story was soon picked up on social media, with entertainment trade magazine Variety (@Variety) covering the story, “Rep. Ken Buck took an opportunity to attack ‘socialists in Hollywood,’ saying that House Democrats had not spoken up against incendiary anti-Trump rhetoric from Robert De Niro, Madonna, and Kathy Griffin.”
John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood), White House correspondent for CNN, posted “GOP Rep Ken Buck ties radicalization that produced last week’s deadly insurrection to mean words from Robert de Niro, Madonna and Kathy Griffin full-on Republicans-as-victims defense”
Perhaps here the question needs to be asked whether a reporter – especially one who is the White House correspondent — should have posted on social media such a statement that clearly seems somewhat biased. It is this sort of commentary why many Republicans and other supporters of Trump have questioned the fairness of the media.
News outlet The Recount (@therecount) was a little more direct and posted on Twitter, “Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) blames Capitol insurrection on anti-Trump comments from Robert de Niro, Madonna, and Kathy Griffin.”
However, some users quickly responding, noting that Rep. Buck is a supporter of the Second Amendment and has an AR-15 in his office. @KiaSmith21691829 noted somewhat snidely, “Ken had nothing to do with it..”
Yet, in fact, that is absolutely true. Rep. Buck’s support of the Second Amendment had absolutely nothing to do with last week’s mayhem, but clearly some saw the commentary to push their own agenda across social media once again highlighting the divide we face.
Celebrities Join The Fray
It also didn’t take long for other celebrities to come to the defense of the Material Girl and others called out by Rep. Buck.
Comedian Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin), whose career was derailed after a photo of her holding a mocked severed head of President Trump was widely circulated, responded on Twitter, posting, “My only take away…
‘Kathy Griffin AND MADONNA'”
Former TV star Jon Cryer (@MrJonCryer) added, “Wracking my brain trying to remember when Madonna, Robert De Niro, and Kathy Griffin were the President of the United States.”
A response to Cryer might be that anyone can incite violence, and clearly those celebrities can hold powerful sway over the masses. This is after all why politicians court celebrities!
There was also a quick backlash on social media from a few Democratic lawmakers as well, including Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.), who tweeted, “During impeachment debate one of my republican colleagues just ranted about Robert De Niro, Madonna, and Kathy Griffin saying mean things about trump. He did this to defend trump’s insurrection. I wish I were making that up. This is the republican party.”
Another question could be asked whether this was in fact the whole of the Republican Party, which at this point it doesn’t seem to be, but in the case of Madonna it was clearly more than just “mean things” directed at the sitting president of the United States. While it could be argued that few heard Madonna’s words as an actual call to action, it does show a pattern that the divide we’re in has been there for many years – and likely it will take more than words to heal the gap.
In the meantime what is being said on both sides only continues to make it worse.