Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter this weekend to attack a New York play production company for redoing the Shakespearean play Julius Caesar in such a way so as to make it seem as though they were telling the story not of the assassination of Caesar but of President Trump.
In so doing, he suggested that speech which depicts things that rub him the wrong way ought to be, effectively, censored, but as a review of the play in the New York Times expertly points out, just because the play depicts something that doesn’t mean that it’s advocating for it.
Indeed, as the Times reviewer explained, the play’s depiction of Julius Caesar seems almost too good for the real life Trump, and the assassination certainly isn’t portrayed as an entirely good event.
Nonetheless, pretty much completely unsurprisingly, Trump Jr. joined an already loud chorus of voices decrying the production and suggesting that it should be censored.
Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter, “I wonder how much of this “art” is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does “art” become political speech & does that change things?”
No, Trump Jr., political speech — or even something that you want to say is political speech but really isn’t — shouldn’t be treated any different than other kinds of speech. The First Amendment applies to all speech that does not harm anyone else, not just to what Trump Jr. feels like it applies to.
Again, the play does not advocate violence. It simply portrays it, having updated the production at hand so as to make it relevant to modern times. If an author wrote a novel in which the protagonist seemed an awful lot like Trump and was killed, would they be subjected to the same scrutiny?
Trump Jr. was trolled beautifully for his belligerent, remarkably short sighted and uncalled for commentary.
Check it out below.
New York Times journalist Sopan Deb offered the following reply:
‘Couple things: the NEA and NEH costs taxpayers a couple dollars per taxpayer. (I believe less than one of Trump’s trip to Mar A Lago.) The U.S. also spends far less per capita on public arts funding than most developed nations… Don Jr bashes arts funding because it might touch politics, while at same time supporting push for tax-exempt churches to do same.’