Listen, no matter how you might feel about Trump or Clinton – and yes, they do incite very polarizing sentiments and the former just wouldn’t stop giving media and the world materials on which to go off on him – their offspring and any grandchildren who are minors are completely off-limits for any sort of attacks. Period. End of story.
So when SNL writer Katie Rich tweeted on January 20, the day of inauguration – and later deleted and then issued a public apology – how 10-year-old “Barron Trump will be the country’s first homeschool shooter”, yeah, it’s definitely off-color and tasteless.
Can and should comedy writers like Rich push the limits for bitey zings for the sake of their art/craft? Yes, they can. But should they target children who are minors of those in the limelight, that’s an N to the O. No.
Whether or not Barron Trump – and to an even greater extent – Melania Trump – truly supported the newly inaugurated president’s embattled journey to the White House, attacking how this kid may look, act, feel, is nobody’s business. Labeling him a “homeschool shooter” or possibly autistic, as YouTuber James Hunter and celebrity Rosie O’Donnell have suggested in November 2016 (and later they both apologized for the onslaught of bullying the video has brought), is neither here nor there, has nothing to do with the POTUS, and can be quite damaging to a child who would have no idea how to deal with the bullying that the mockery and unproven assumptions could bring him. Once these tweets and posts are out there, no matter how much one may apologize for having insensitively thrown comments onto social media, the damage is done and continues because people now start associating the person with a certain label, a certain persona, that the tweets and videos suggest.
Same thing for the rest of us not involved in the political or entertainment worlds. If adults have it out against adults, fine, have it out, call them out on their shit as we do against the POTUS daily, against press secretary Spicer for alleging the 2017 presidential inauguration to have had the biggest turnout ever, against Kellyanne Conway for saying that Spicer presented “alternative facts” about the inauguration turnout. But DO leave people’s children who are minors alone – targeting, labeling, bringing the children into adults’ messes is a low blow that is simply unacceptable and not to be promoted.