The furor over comedian Michelle Wolf’s divisive comedy set at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner shows no signs of abating.
On Saturday night, journalists, celebrities, lawmakers and more gathered in Washington for the annual event, a black-tie affair typically attended by the president. Both times the dinner has been held during his presidency, Donald Trump has bowed out, instead holding campaign-style rallies in battleground states he won in 2016: Last year, Trump went to Pennsylvania, and this year, he rallied in Washington Township, Michigan. At this year’s dinner, Wolf, an alumna of the Daily Show, delivered an at-times raunchy, sometimes funny, and definitely controversial roast of the president, his staff, the political press, and more, provoking an outpouring of both support and outrage from across the internet.
Wolf’s jokes about Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have prompted the most debate. Wolf compared Sanders to “Aunt Lydia,” an anti-feminist villain in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” called her “Uncle Tom, but for white women who disappoint other white women,” and made a joke that mentioned the press secretary’s eye makeup, evoking criticism that Wolf attacked Sanders’ appearance:
Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable. I have experienced insults about my appearance from the president. All women have a duty to unite when these attacks happen and the WHCA owes Sarah an apology.
— Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) April 29, 2018
That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 29, 2018
Wolf pushed back on this allegation on Twitter:
Why are you guys making this about Sarah’s looks? I said she burns facts and uses the ash to create a *perfect* smoky eye. I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials. https://t.co/slII9TYdYx
— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) April 29, 2018
The set caused journalists from a number of networks to call on Wolf to apologize to Sanders:
Apology is owed to @PressSec and others grossly insulted ny Michelle Wolf at White House Correspondents Assoc dinner which started with uplifting heartfelt speech by @margarettalev – comedian was worst since Imus insulted Clinton’s
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) April 29, 2018
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) April 29, 2018
Michelle Wolf attacking @PressSec last night was wrong. Full stop.
Being a comedian is one thing, being a bully is something completely different.
As a member of the WHCA, I join many of my colleagues in saying that Sarah deserves an apology.
— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) April 29, 2018
Others have taken issue with the outpouring of outrage against Wolf, calling it hypocritical to criticize blows delivered by a comedian when the president himself has regularly made crude comments about women.
Michelle Wolf is flat out disrespectful. She should have done a killer impresh of a disabled journalist or made hilar period and pussy jokes instead of saying someone has smokey eyes. Appalling.
— Bryan Safi (@bryansafi) April 29, 2018
— “Grab em by the pussy”
— “I moved on her like a bitch”
— “Blood coming out of her wherever”
— “I would bomb the shit out of them”
— “If she wasn’t my daughter I’d date her”
— “African countries are shithole nations”
— “Michelle Wolf was over the top”
— Ryan Knight (@ProudResister) April 29, 2018
Michelle Wolf made you uncomfortable.
Was it mean-spirited?
But look at Trump’s tweets & tell me why a comedian is held to a higher standard than the President?
Also, those Trump supporters who are upset about all of this?
— Nathan H. Rubin (@NathanHRubin) April 29, 2018
I can't believe people are offended by Michelle Wolf's jokes. The man who insults women, the disabled, people of color, who mainsrreamed wods like pussy and shithole, who lies every day and pays people to lie for him, is PRESIDENT. And the media made that possible.
— (((Katha Pollitt))) (@KathaPollitt) April 29, 2018
And of course, the president weighed in on Wolf’s set from his Twitter account on Sunday morning. She “bombed,” he said, and proposed that next year, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld host the dinner.
While Washington, Michigan, was a big success, Washington, D.C., just didn’t work. Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents Dinner was a very big, boring bust…the so-called comedian really “bombed.” @greggutfeld should host next year! @PeteHegseth
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2018
You can watch Wolf’s entire White House Correspondents’ dinner set above and judge for yourself.