Donald Trump might have expected a different reaction from the crowd at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., for the fifth World Series game between the D.C. Nationals and the Houston Astros on Sunday night. That morning he had announced that U.S. forces killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and to hear him tell it, under his presidency we have "the greatest economy we&aposve had in the history of our country." So when he arrived at the stadium with First Lady Melania Trump and an entourage of the most sycophantic Republicans in Congress—including Florida representative Matt Gaetz, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham—he may have been unprepared for the crowd&aposs open hostility.
During a salute to veterans, the stadium&aposs massive screen cut to the president and his guests, and the cheering abruptly turned to booing. Some in the crowd even hijacked one of Trump&aposs favorite rally chants, yelling, "Lock him up!"
Trump seemed excited when he saw that the stadium was reacting to his image on the screen, but his expression soured quickly as the boos and chants became obvious. Melania seemed to realize what was happening before her husband did.
In a counterpoint to Trumpian values, Spanish chef José Andrés threw the opening pitch. Andrés and the Trump Organization were entangled in a lawsuit when the chef pulled out of a deal to run a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., after Trump called Mexican immigrants rapists in 2015. And Andrés traveled to Puerto Rico to provide food for people affected by Hurricane Maria, while the Trump administration ignored pleas for aid. The chef also opened a kitchen in early 2019 to feed furloughed workers during a government shutdown. Andrés thanked the Nationals for the invitation, tweeting, "Thank you @Nationals @MLB @astros For inviting an immigrant! To throw first pitch! In a game full of immigrants! Inviting me representing millions of first responders doing amazing work helping everyone!"
The anti-Trump reactions from the crowd prompted some bemoaning about the lack of civility in politics. Delaware Democratic senator Chris Coons said, "Frankly think the office of the president deserves respect, even when the actions of our president at times don&apost." And Joe Scarborough denounced the boos and chants on his show Morning Joe, saying, "We are Americans and we do not do that. We do not want the world hearing us chant, &aposLock him up&apos to this president or to any president."
Scarborough drew swift ridicule for compressing the vastly different contexts of chants at a baseball game versus a Trump rally. The hashtag #SorryJoe started trending on Twitter, and Pod Save America host Jon Lovett broke the fallacy down in comic-book terms:
Adam Jentleson, a GQ columnist, called the boos "a cry against normalizing a monster." And New York Times opinion columnist Michelle Goldberg tweeted that she was "gobsmacked by establishment types handwringing about ordinary citizens expressing their opinion of a fascist criminal president on one of the rare occasions when he faces them."
Scarborough did acknowledge that Trump "started" the chants at his rallies, which is technically accurate since he egged his supporters on to chant "Lock her up" about Hillary Clinton and, riffing on that, "Send her back," referring to Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar. The chanting on Sunday was likely tongue-in-cheek—not a call to do away with due process—but the difference is that, unlike his opponents, Trump has actually admitted to committing impeachable offenses, and his own lawyer is arguing in court that laws don&apost apply to him as long as he&aposs president.
Originally Appeared on GQ