Just days before some liberals complained that the word “clown” is a white supremacist “slur,” Barbra Streisand used it to mock President Donald Trump.
Babs, as the iconic singer is known to her legions of adoring fans, targeted the president during a headlining show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Rolling Stone reported.
Hillary and Bill Clinton and U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, who were in attendance, witnessed Streisand’s take on the Broadway classic “Send in the Clowns.”
She modified the Stephen Sondheim-penned hit to give it a particularly Trumpian resonance. Streisand’s version followed up the opening line – “He says he’s rich/ Maybe he’s poor/ ‘Til he reveals his returns/ Who can be sure?/ Who is this clown?” – by adding: “Something’s amiss/ I don’t approve/ Now that’s he’s running the free world where can we move?/ Maybe a town/ Just who is this clown?”
Streisand’s lyrics referenced an ongoing legal battle between the president and New York state officials over the release of his tax returns.
“Jerry, you know what I’m talking about,” she said, addressing Nadler.
As Streisand finished her performance of the song, a screen behind her flashed images of the White House made to look like a circus tent and Trump’s face wearing a clown nose.
“You know, that was meant to be a funny song,” she said. “But what’s going on just isn’t very funny, because it would take me all night long to recite 11,000 lies. You know what I mean? But there’s a line by Oscar Wilde that kind of describes this person. The line is: ‘He’s a man who knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing.’”
“Clowns” is a slur
The Monday after Streisand’s performance a journalist from the left-leaning Daily Kos published an article accusing a North Carolina Republican of “embracing” a slur purportedly used by white supremacists.
The slur in question? The word “clowns.”
In the piece, entitled “North Carolina Republican’s response to shootings: Embrace ‘clown’ slur pushed by white supremacists,” Daily Kos political director David Nir criticized Bishop for “berating Democrats” on Twitter by calling them “clowns.”
Meanwhile, Dan McCready, a Democratic candidate for the upcoming North Carolina House special election, appeared to endorse Nir’s point of view. The same day Nir’s piece was published McCready reacted to it by tweeting, “My God, we are better than this.”
— Seo Alonzo (@SeoAlonzo) August 5, 2019
According to Right-Wing Watch reporter Jared Holt, whom Nir cites favorably in his article, the “white nationalist far-right” has adopted clowns as an “identifying symbol.”
The far-right owns clowns?
It could be said that liberals such as Holt, Nir and McCready are playing into the hands of trolls who relish exploiting what they see as liberal hypersensitivity to symbol after symbol, from the “OK” hand gesture to Revolutionary-era flags.
As noted by The Washington Free Beacon’s Alex Griswold, “clowns” is a “fairly standard insult” in U.S. politics that’s been used recently by Trump critics such as Joe Scarborough and Streisand herself.
- Barbra Streisand performs at Madison Square Garden in New York City on August 3, 2019: Screen grab