Mercedes Schlapp, an adviser on President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, defended her widely-mocked comparison of Joe Biden to Mr. Rogers.
“We love Mr. Rogers, but I gotta tell you, those puppets were always a little freaky when I was growing up,” she said on Fox News Friday morning.
On Thursday night, while her candidate and Democratic nominee Biden were participating in competing town hall events, Schlapp tweeted, “Well @JoeBiden @ABCPolitics townhall feels like I am watching an episode of Mister Rodgers [sic] Neighborhood.”
Mr. Rogers began trending on Twitter as fans leaped to his — and Biden’s — defense, pointing out that comparisons to a beloved children’s television host weren’t exactly sick burns.
Stars like Taye Diggs, Lea Salonga, and Mark Hamill quickly tweeted their support of the beloved icon. Hamill wrote, “She says watching @JoeBiden feels like she’s watching Mr. Rogers* as if being intelligent, thoughtful, decent & inclusive is a BAD thing. I like presidents who aren’t unhinged, conspiracy-minded, white-nationalist fans.”
Echoed Salonga, “I consider any comparison to Mister Rogers a huge compliment to @JoeBiden. Kindness, compassion, dignity, empathy, intelligence.”
Even journalists got in on the defense of Rogers, hardly a political figure.
“A remarkable moment from the past where decency and hope won out on Capitol Hill. Courtesy of Mr. Rogers. Definitely worth watching,” wrote Dan Rather to accompany a clip of Rogers testifying before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communication to urge a halt to a proposed budget cut to public television.
Watch Schlapp’s defense below:
Mercedes Schlapp defends her widely dragged tweet trying to attack Joe Biden by comparing him to Mr Rogers: "We love Mr Rogers, but I gotta tell you, those puppets were always a little freaky when I was growing up." pic.twitter.com/iCAXBedPLP
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 16, 2020