Dem. Rep. Alcee Hastings took some heat over a joke he told over the weekend — but he says that he got the joke from Ari Silver, the 16-year-old son of former Florida State Rep. Barry Silver. Ari, for his part, claims that the joke “was not intended to wish harm upon the president,” but rather was meant to be a way to “point out” his “failings.”
“I will tell you one joke,” Hastings told rallygoers in Sunshine, Florida on Sunday. “Do you know the difference between a crisis and a catastrophe? A crisis is if Donald Trump falls into the Potomac River and can’t swim, and a catastrophe is anybody saves his ass.” (RELATED: Dem Rep Alcee Hastings Jokes About President Trump Drowning In The Potomac River)
Ari, the 16-year-old son of former Florida state representative Barry Silver and the founder of a pro-gun control organization called Student March to Stop Gun Violence, told the DC that although Hastings did hear the joke from him a week before the Florida lawmaker used it, it was simply a new variation of an old joke used by his father and grandfather.
“The joke was used by my grandfather many years ago, but he was talking about Yasser Arafat,” Silver said in an email to the DC. “I’ve heard my dad use the same joke about various malicious people. It became apparent to me that the local villain of this day is Trump, so I incorporated him into the joke.”
“I organized a candidate forum for congressional candidates a week earlier,” Silver told the Daily Caller, “and to wrap up the event I used [a PG version of] the joke.”
To Silver, the joke was obviously “made in jest,” and the audience knew it.
“It was clear to everyone in the audience that the joke was made in jest and was not intended to wish harm upon the president,” Silver said in an email. “While it is true that we do seek the political demise of this disgraceful and reprehensible President who brings shame to our nation and danger to our planet in order to avert continued catastrophes to this country, I certainly do not seek his physical demise. One of the best ways to point out the failings of this President is with the skillful of humor, as has been effectively used by professional comedians and my dad with his political parodies. As an activist, I will follow in their footsteps in using humor to make a point, and while I may at times be politically incorrect, I do not wish physical harm upon our President.”
While Silver agreed that the “media would go crazy” if a similar joke had been made about former President Obama, he insists that it “wouldn’t really bother” him.
“Personally, wasn’t that big a fan of Obama, but if somebody did say that it wouldn’t really bother me,” Silver said via phone. “I would just take it in passing.”
The 16-year-old also contended that a comparison cannot be made between Obama and Trump “because Obama never disgraced John McCain’s honor by saying he isn’t a war hero, Obama never called a black woman a dog, and Obama has never called white-nationalists ‘fine people.'”
“Under normal circumstances, I would have never used such a morbid joke, but due to all of the horrible acts committed by our President, I saw it appropriate,” wrote Silver.
On media reaction to the joke, Silver contented that it was “crazy” for the “right to misinterpret something like that.”
“Trump makes jokes like that all the time, but when the Left does something like that they begin to freak out,” he said. “I don’t think Trump has ever gone so far as to imply to killing somebody, but Trump has made pretty mean comments in the past.”
When asked how the press would react if Trump made a similar joke, Silver acknowledged the discrepancy.
“I think most of the press would go after Trump, just because the press is mainly Democratic and they’re looking for something to pick at against Trump,” he said. “Any comment like that would surely merit outstanding criticism from the press.”
“When Trump insults people it’s not what he should do, but it doesn’t really bother me … I don’t take it seriously. It’s just the way politics is.”