Climbers, Builders and Scott Pruitt: Grandstanders of the Week

Every week, we deliver our picks for the most noteworthy hot air blowers, virtue signalers, and grandstanders in the news.


Patricia Okoumou is quite lithe.

​On the Fourth of July she scaled the Statue of Liberty without getting caught (except for on numerous cellphone cameras). As a feat of human physical achievement and personal excellence, Okoumou’s ascent was certainly heroic. As a political statement… less so.

​“I had thought, ‘It’s the Statue of Liberty, it’s the Fourth of July and there are children in cages, we are doing a protest but I want to send an even stronger message and this is the perfect day for it,'” Okoumou ​said, concluding with ​an homage to Michelle Obama, “when they go low, we go high. And I went as high as I could.”

This is precisely why performers should never be asked to explain their art.​She was interviewed by MSNBC, the Guardian and a number of other outlets, all of whom failed to offer a statistic on exactly how many immigrant families were reunited, how many children were released from cage-hold, and how many Resisters were galvanized by Okoumou’s climb.​


​Love him or hate him, President Donald Trump ushered a new style into American politics. You might think his style to be the amplification of public sentiment, or you might think it the horn-blow of xenophobia, cruelty and tackiness. Either way, that style is idiosyncratically Trump.

This is what makes the growing list of ​toady emulators so difficult to stomach. Just consider, how many times have you recently heard someone proclaiming to be a ​Trump by another name? Or to ​out-Trump Trump?

Latest knock-off to join this cringe-worthy crew​ is a ​GOP congressional candidate from Tennessee who released an ad this week of himself literally building a wall in his backyard.

Yes. You’re so Trump that you can Trump the most Trump there is to Trump since the birth of Trump. We get it.

Fawn No More.

​​Speaking of toads, swamp-monster Scott Pruitt resigned this week (under pressure) from his position as EPA boss. Notoriously ​close to Trump, Pruitt ​penned a goodbye letter that is less a resignation-notice than a soliloquy to his only other man-crush after ​Jesus:

​Truly, your confidence in me has blessed me personally and enabled me to advance your agenda… Your courage, steadfastness and resolute commitment to get results for the American people […] is in fact occurring at an unprecedented pace and I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and the American people in helping achieve those ends.

One can almost see the stain of a single tear marking Pruitt’s original copy of the letter.

Brief though the missive is, the word “bless”​ appears in it 4 times. The word “serve” 3 times.

​”Your Faithful Friend,” reads the closing line. Godspeed, Pruitt. We’ll always have ​lung diseases.

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