Donald Trump has resigned from the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists after the union overwhelmingly moved to revoke his membership for inciting the January 6th invasion of the Capitol. And of course, he did it in the most Trumpian way possible: a bitter and cartoonishly petty written screed.
For context, SAG-AFTRA is an organization of actors, journalists, radio personalities, artists, and myriad entertainment celebrities that Trump had been a member of since 1989. For people who make their living in Hollywood, membership in the union isn’t required but highly encouraged, and Trump joined the same year he made his atrocious acting debut in the Razzie-winning Ghosts Can’t Do It.
For some reason he remained in the union even after he left The Apprentice to become president, and the organization apparently let him remain in their ranks until he encouraged a bunch of MAGA lunatics to storm the Capitol in his honor. After that last straw, SAG announced on January 19th that they were holding a hearing to expel him for endangering journalists who were fellow members, and the group voted “overwhelmingly” to remove him from their ranks (via The Independent).
“Donald Trump attacked the values that this union holds most sacred — democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press,” wrote SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris in a statement last month (via Variety). “There’s a straight line from his wanton disregard for the truth to the attacks on journalists perpetrated by his followers.”
This might come as a surprise, but Trump doesn’t like being told what to do. So instead of letting the board go through the formal process of kicking him out, he wrote a letter to Cateris that tendered his resignation. The 74-year-old has been weirdly absent from the public spotlight since he was banned from most social media platforms and forced out of the White House, but the rant-filled message assures us that he’s alive and well, uniquely spiteful and buffoonish as ever.
I write to you today regarding the so-called Disciplinary Committee hearing aimed at revoking my union membership. Who cares!
While I’m not familiar with your work, I’m very proud of my work on movies such as Home Alone 2, Zoolander and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps; and television shows including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Saturday Night Live, and of course, one of the most successful shows in television history, The Apprentice – to name just a few!
I’ve also greatly helped the cable news television business (said to be a dying platform with not much time left until I got involved in politics), and created thousands of jobs at networks such as MSDNC and Fake News CNN, among many others.
Which brings me to your blatant attempt at free media attention to distract from your dismal record as a union. Your organization has done little for its members, and nothing for me – besides collecting dues and promoting dangerous un-American policies and ideas – as evident by your massive unemployment rates and lawsuits from celebrated actors, who even recorded a video asking, “Why isn’t the union fighting for me?”
These, however, are policy failures. Your disciplinary failures are even more egregious.
I no longer wish to be associated with your union.
As such, this letter is to inform you of my immediate resignation from SAG-AFTRA. You have done nothing for me.
President Donald J. Trump
That whole thing is absolute gold, but a few sections stand out. The first is Trump bragging about his esteemed stagecraft in such cinematic masterpieces as Home Alone 2 and Zoolander. Then he takes his usual shots at mainstream media, dropping in his “MSDNC” pun and the not-at-all-tired “Fake News” tagline.
However, the best and most Trumpist elements of this are him repeatedly emphasizing that the union has done nothing for him. Every relationship this man has ever had is purely transactional in his mind, and the idea that this union owes him something more than the baseline of workplace protection that it provides all of its members is quintessential Trump.
In response to this harebrained diatribe, the union replied with a simple, “Thank you.” Knowing Trump, receiving anything other than fawning praise or a triggered squeal ruined whatever McDonald’s hamburger he was eating at the time. It’s great to have him out of the White House, but it’s also great that we still have him around for low-stakes, beyond-parody nonsense like this.
Trump sent this letter to SAG-AFTRA to submit his resignation from the union representing Radio, TV and movie personalities. He mentions his film work in such movies as Home Alone 2 and Zoolander. pic.twitter.com/EdxaZipxqg
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) February 4, 2021