The White House is not a cheesy theme park, the Resolute desk is not a prop and the official portrait of a former first lady is not to be ridiculed.
Yet that’s how President Donald Trump’s White House dinner guests, including former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, rocker Kid Rock, and musician and conservative activist Ted Nugent, acted on a visit last week.
In a clear display of disrespect for the presidency and the White House, Palin, Nugent and Kid Rock were photographed under a portrait of Hillary Clinton, as Palin sneered and Nugent scoffed.
Nugent told The New York Times that someone suggested the trio stick up their middle fingers, and Nugent “politely declined.” But there’s nothing polite about what Nugent, Palin and Rock did. Their undignified behavior, reinforced by their social media comments, were a testament to how degraded our civil discourse has become.
The U.S. Secret Service investigated Nugent in 2012 after he indirectly threatened President Barack Obama. It’s enough to wonder how Nugent got through the White House gates last week.
Trump has used the presidency to promote his business interests and himself. He’s used the Oval Office for photo op after photo op. That’s bad enough. But his guests went too far Wednesday, and he has to take responsibility.
Trump owes Clinton an apology. And the president, his staff and his guests must treat our house and our institutions with the respect and dignity they demand and deserve.