Ivanka Trump and her children were harassed this morning by a man for political reasons while she was flying on coach on JetBlue from NY to Florida. Here is what happened:
According to the report, a man – holding a child of his own – began yelling at her and “jeering” at the young kids.
“Your father is ruining the country,” he reportedly told her, while questioning why she was on the flight instead of flying privately.
Daily Mail identified the man as Dan Goldstein, a lawyer from Brooklyn. Before boarding the flight, Goldstein’s husband, Matthew Lasner, tweeted: “Ivanka and Jared at JFK T5, flying commercial. My husband chasing them down to harass them. #banalityofevil”
I mention this report because it is the latest in a long line of crazy incidents involving unhinged responses to the president-elect. I am saddened to report that there are even members of the Church of Jesus Christ who are opposed to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing at Trump’s inauguration. Shame on them.
This issue should not be controversial. It is only the hyper-politicized culture — akin to college campuses with safe spaces and trigger warnings — that allows it to be controversial. Trump is the legally elected president of the United States. The Inauguration Committee invited them to perform and they accepted. The MoTab choir has performed multiple times in front of Democrat and Republican presidents:
The choir has previously sung at the inaugurals of five other U.S. presidents, including the official swearing-in ceremonies for George H. W. Bush (1989), Richard M. Nixon (1969) and Lyndon B. Johnson (1965). They performed in inaugural parades for George W. Bush (2001), George H. W. Bush (1989) and Ronald W. Reagan (1981).
When the choir sang its signature song “Battle Hymn of the Republic” during the inaugural parade for President Reagan in 1981, he dubbed the choir “America’s Choir.” President George H. W. Bush called the choir “a national treasure” during his swearing-in ceremony in front of the Capitol in 1989.
Over the years, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has performed on other occasions for five additional U.S. presidents. The choir sang in the Salt Lake Tabernacle for Jimmy Carter in 1978 and John F. Kennedy in 1963. Gerald Ford heard the choir sing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in 1974. White House performances included a 1958 appearance for Dwight D. Eisenhower and an occasion for William Howard Taft in 1911.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has performed in multiple Communist countries that have values significantly worse that the Trump administration. The choir brings the Spirit of the Lord, which is a necessary thing now and at all times.
The MoTab choir performing at Trump’s inauguration is not an endorsement of the man. It is simply an agreement to perform at a high profile event and is completely in line with past decisions by the choir.
How would a decision not to perform ever be justified? The MoTab choir is willing to perform in Communist dictatorships that have killed and imprisoned hundreds of thousands, but not in front of the legally elected president of the United States? Such a decision would be impossible to defend. But even worse, it would create a precedent where all future MoTab performances are judged by politics. Let’s say Hillary Clinton is elected in 2020 — would the MoTab be justified in refusing to perform for her because of political reasons? (For the record, I would never vote for Hillary, but I would have no problem with the MoTab performing for her, and I would look on such an event with pride).
It does no good for Mormons who oppose many things about Trump (as I do) to become unhinged on minor issues like this. If Trump tries to implement a registry of U.S. citizens based on religion (which I doubt is going to happen), then let’s scream bloody murder. If Trump tries to restrict the First Amendment, then let’s complain loudly. But it makes Mormons look petty and contentious to spend their time complaining when the MoTab choir does something that should not be controversial — and is in line with precedent.
The deranged behavior by Trump opponents — including Mormons opposed to the MoTab’s decision to perform at the inauguration — is alarming and embarrassing. There are appropriate times to be political and there are times that are completely inappropriate. This is one of those times where such behavior is inappropriate. It makes Mormons look like the crazy guy harassing Ivanka Trump on a plane, and believe me this is not an image I want for the Church or its members.