Last night at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore compared President Barack Obama to Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry because they both “like raining down bombs on people from long distances.”
The audience of Washington, D.C., journalists, politicians and celebrities reacted with pained “oooooooh’s,” as did Obama himself (before grinning widely).
By contrast, the audience laughed with delight at the same dinner in 2010 when Obama warned the Jonas Brothers to stay away from his daughters or he would kill them with a predator drone:
Of course, all the D.C. elites who laughed with Obama would be (rightfully) horrified if Vladimir Putin casually joked about killing anyone he wanted with the same weapons Russia uses to bomb Syria.
Nevertheless, Obama’s witticism remains beloved by the Washington Post, which called it one of “the president’s sharpest quips” the next day and this week named it one of his “10 most hilarious lines” of his whole presidency at the correspondents’ dinner.
By the time Obama made his Jonas Brothers joke, the United States had, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, killed a minimum of 679 people in drone strikes in Pakistan alone. This included at least 138 civilians, of whom at least 42 were children. By now victims of U.S. drones number in the thousands worldwide.
What makes Obama’s drone joke particularly non-funny is that on the same night in 2010 — just a few hours before Obama spoke — a Bridgeport, Conn., man, Faisal Shahzad attempted to detonate a car bomb in New York City’s Times Square. After Shahzad was captured, he stated that one of his main motivations to kill Americans was “the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan.”