It’s Friday, October 25. Today, in the Trump era, funerals have become political, too. Plus, one archivist’s grim mission. Finally, a better word than emoluments.
(CHIP SOMODEVILLA / REUTERS)
President Donald Trump wasn’t at Elijah Cummings’s funeral on Friday.
Nor did any of the eulogists honoring the late veteran Democratic lawmaker—from Nancy Pelosi to Hillary Clinton to Bill Clinton to Barack Obama—explicitly mention Trump, who earlier this year called Cummings’s district “a disgusting rat and rodent infested mess.”
Though the service was free of direct jabs, Trump was on the receiving end of one implicit rebuke after another. Here are several moments when it seemed like the speakers might have had a certain someone on their minds:
“He stood against corrupt leadership, like King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.” —Hillary Clinton, comparing Cummings to his biblical namesake
“You can’t run a free society if you have to hate everybody you disagree with.” —Bill Clinton
“There is nothing weak about looking out for others. There is nothing weak about being honorable. You are not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect.” —Barack Obama (Read Obama’s full remarks here)
It’s a sign of how even funerals are political in the Trump era, my colleague Russell Berman writes:
“It’s yet another reminder of how broadly Trump has affected American public life in the past few years, his influence felt even in death and legacy. The president has changed how his rivals are mourned, even at funerals to which he was not invited.”
— Saahil Desai
(Emily Jan / The Atlantic)
What’s the experience of an archivist in a time of tragedy? Eric Lidji is on a one-man mission of keep last year’s Tree of Life massacre from becoming just another entry on a long list of mass shootings and anti-Semitic attacks.
“It felt like … archiving the ocean,” he told her.
+ Read Part I of this series on healing and movements in Pittsburgh: “In the months since the shooting, not everyone in the Pittsburgh Jewish community has agreed on what it means to be ‘stronger than hate,’ much less on why the attack happened in the first place. Three different views, roughly, have emerged.”
Donald Trump Has a Big Problem in the Senate, by David Graham
A resolution put forward by Lindsey Graham meant to be a show of solidarity by Republicans with the president has instead become a sign of weakness.
In light of recent reporting from The Wall Street Journal that the Trump organization is exploring a possible sale of its 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue Trump International Hotel, consider this argument from the linguist John McWhorter: emoluments is an obscuring, outdated word, and there are plenty of clearer synonyms available:
…there are times when formal English drifts beyond the useful and becomes fossilized ceremony. The word emolument is one example. It has come up in the news much of late because of the discussion as to whether Trump violated the emoluments clause in the Constitution, which stipulates that a president is not to receive “gifts, emoluments, offices or titles” from foreign powers without congressional consent.
Yet many of us, let’s face it, have never had the opportunity to use or even process that word until this presidency, other than perhaps briefly meeting it when introduced to the Constitution.