Jake Tapper is being ripped online after UKTN’s chief correspondent and the news show host suggested it would be “smart” for President Joe Biden to invite former President Donald Trump to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.
Tapper made the comments Friday on his show, The lead role with Jake Tapper, as part of a roundtable on Biden’s uncomfortable position on whether or not to bring Trump, his predecessor and increasingly bitter political opponent, to the high-profile stately ceremony. While it is not uncommon for ex-presidents to attend similar events, Biden and Trump have recently escalated their rivalry, accusing each other of being a threat to the Constitution.
Calling the situation “fascinating”, Tapper said the UK has essentially left it up to Biden, who has indicated he will attend the Queen’s funeral, over who to include in the delegation to the royal mourning ritual. Tapper called Biden’s invitations to former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter “no-brainers.”
“What about Trump?” Tapper added. “Will he invite Trump?”
The conundrum comes to Biden a week after he taunted Trump and his so-called “MAGA Republican” allies in a Philadelphia speech, calling the former president a threat to American democracy that encourages political violence. Trump has accused Biden of “arming” the Justice Department for political purposes after an FBI search last month from his Mar-a-Lago estate for unlawfully held government documents.
Jeff Zeleny, UKTN national affairs correspondent, noted that Obama invited his predecessors to the funeral of respected South African President Nelson Mandela in 2013.
“So there is a protocol to have US presidents invite other presidents,” he said. “Who knows? Perhaps, in the spirit of forgiveness and giving, President Biden will invite Donald Trump to Air Force One. I doubt that will happen. But I do expect some sort of bipartisan delegation.”
“I think the smart move is to invite him over and see if he goes,” Tapper said. “I don’t think former President Trump would want to be subservient to Air Force One, and I think he probably prefers his own plane anyway.”
Tapper was quickly panned on Twitter, with critics pointing out that Trump is facing investigations into the alleged undermining of the results of the 2020 presidential election and the recovery of classified documents at his private Florida home.
Actor Brian Guest responded with a tweet focused on Tapper.
“I’m not sure you are aware of this, but the last ‘president’ tried to overthrow our government and is under investigation for espionage for stealing national security secrets from his retirement home,” he said. “What would be ‘smart’ is if you just leave journalism to real journalists.”
Ray Reed, a former Democratic House candidate in Missouri, also pointed out that Trump may face espionage in the investigation into the classified documents retrieved from his home. “He shouldn’t be flying Air Force One,” he wrote.
Writer Charlotte Clymer in a tweet called Tapper’s comments a “weak attempt at game theory.”
“Another way to look at it — a glass half full, if you will — is gratitude that Jake Tapper is not in charge of the US delegation,” she said.
News week has contacted UKTN for comment.