Comedian Michelle Wolf stepped to the podium at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner and verbally eviscerated everyone: The President, The Press, Mike Pence, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway.

MAGA Nation, unsurprisingly lost their collective minds. By their wild histrionics, you would have thought she murdered a crowd filled with concertgoers with an arsenal of high-powered weapons.

Trump supporters, Conservative pundits, and Evangelical preachers rushed to social media and to partisan talk shows, to lament the comedian’s “cruel, mean-spirited, vicious words;” to clutch their pearls at the seemingly unprecedented nastiness, to openly weep over the supposed inappropriate nature of her personal attacks; to defend poor, defenseless people like Sarah and Kellyanne, so unfairly treated.

The idea that they could somehow be mortified by Michelle Wolf’s WHCD remarks, and yet passionately support the vile, genitalia-grabbing, serial liar and his cadre of predators in the White House who are making America a global punchline, while doing irreparable damage to millions of people every day — is Olympic level cognitive dissonance.

That the satirical words of an entertainer could be a source of internal distress, while the prolific malevolence of a sitting President and his complicit surrogates merit only a giggle and a shoulder shrug, is a the reason we’re in this mess.

And while Trump supporters lacking self-awareness in matters of righteous indignation are par for the course these days, what has been surprising, has been those outside of his adoring cult who’ve wagged their fingers and clicked the roof of their mouths, accusing the comedian of, “becoming the other side.”

Can we stop with this, already? It’s abject nonsense, it’s irresponsible tone policing, and it’s erecting a skyscraping straw man that foolishly changes the narrative.

As harsh and irreverent as Wolf’s comments might have been, any effort to make these comparable with this Administration’s sins is a ridiculous false equivalency. Wolf saying rude things and calling out shameful behavior by our leaders — isn’t her “becoming the other side.” It isn’t the same as being the people in power who actually create legislation that damages people.

I might not have gone where Wolf went, but it’s astounding to me that people who support this President can feign offense, while he does such deeply offensive things to the people of this country and they’re perfectly fine with it all. This should merit outrage. He should merit outrage.

Much has been made by Wolf’s critics, of her personal attacks on Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Aside from the unnecessary and unacceptable body-shaming, the comedian is perfectly within her rights to name the near criminal conduct of the White House Press Secretary; who regularly stands in front of the nation, maligning the Press, vilifying the President’s political opposition, and knowingly lying through her teeth regarding matters of national policy and security.

She is one of the people most responsible for attempting to normalize someone quite outside of normal, and for this she should be held accountable. And as Wolf rightly pointed out, the Press is less and less willing to take on such tasks, so the jesters will have to do it.

Wolf (even brutally) calling out Sarah Sanders for lying for a living on behalf of a monster — isn’t “as bad” as Sarah Sanders lying for a living on behalf of a monster.

People have said that Michelle Wolf’s razor-sharp dismantling of this Administration at the WHCD “stooped to the other side’s level,” but this simply isn’t true. We need to let that idea go because it misses the point completely.

She didn’t stoop to the other side’s level with her comments — she punched up, and she punched hard. Thank God people are still willing to do that.

When Wolf uses the power of the White House to craft legislation that cripples the poor and marginalized, and assails our environmental protections, civil rights, and Free Press — she’ll be stooping to Donald Trump’s level.

When she daily stands before a podium representing the President and claiming the Christian faith, and repeatedly and willfully lies to the American people about issues that fundamentally and profoundly affect hundreds of millions of — she’ll be stooping to Sarah Sander’s level.

When she enables and supports and profits from a reckless sociopath who is disregarding our Constitution and rule of law, she’s be stooping to the other side’s level. As it is, she simply spoke truth that too many Americans seem unwilling or unable to see.

There is a great deal to be outraged right now: Russian interference, ICE raids in hospital rooms, Eroding LGBTQ rights, Vanishing environmental protections, Puerto Rico still in shambles, Flint still without clean water, unparalleled gun homicides, a compromised Evangelical Church, raising hate crimes, the sabotaging on the Affordable Care Act.

These realities should be scandalous to us, not a few outrageous words from a button-pushing comedian. If Michelle Wolf is your problem right now — you need bigger problems.

John Pavlovitz

Michelle Wolf

The original version of this Op Ed was published on

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