A house is not a hole.
That, I kid you not, is the latest defense from Donald Trump’s enablers, as most of planet Earth howls in outrage at the American president’s vulgar term for nations that aren’t as white as Norway.
And Trump’s not helping himself much: He spent Martin Luther King Day golfing at his private club in West Palm Beach, ostentatiously ignoring his own call to honor the slain civil-right leader with “acts of civic work and community service.” Every other president for the past 24 years — Obama, Bush and Clinton — used the occasion as a “day of service,” helping out in soup kitchens, reading to disadvantaged children and the like. On his first MLK Day as president, the only person Donald Trump decided to serve was himself.
His latest time on the links came as he and his remaining defenders — in the White House and the Republican Congress — were still beating back angry accusations of racism, ignited this time by the president’s reported use of the term “s—hole countries” to describe Haiti and the nations of Africa. “We should have more people from Norway,” he allegedly said when a bipartisan group of senators met to discuss immigration.
The language was confirmed by a Republican senator and a Democratic senator who were in the room, though a wave of sudden deafness — or was it memory loss? — did seem to grip the other Republicans who weren’t named Lindsey Graham.
Trump is sticking to his story, of course, shouting back at pool reporters in Florida: “No, no, I’m not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you.”
That did nothing to calm the roiling waters, any more than Monday’s 18 holes did. And the president’s band of helpmates found their final refuge in a language technicality. He didn’t call those dark-skinned nations “s—hole countries.” He said “s—house countries.”
What a poetic defense of a distant land that just so happens to be someone’s country! Doesn’t it make you want to print up the postcards immediately?
“Donald, wish you were here!”
Metro columnist Ellis Henican is the best-selling author of a dozen books, including “TRUMPITUDE: The Secret Confessions of Donald’s Brain.” Join him on Twitter @henican.