Welcome, President Trump, to a world of shade
So, here we are. Come Jan. 20, it'll be President von Clownstick.
Not that the incoming troll-in-chief has shown any inclination to elevate the discourse. But a degree of respect must be paid — to the office of the presidency, if not its 45th occupant.
Of course, Donald Trump will continue to invite the kind of blunt-force, unhinged and floridly profane insults he reveled in throughout his campaign (and perhaps best exemplified by the post-Brexit Twitter pile-on that gave the world "tiny fingered, Cheeto-faced, ferret-wearing shitgibbon"). But we've already seen subtler, more dignified responses to Trump's daily loutishness from the world community that must, at least, pretend to respect him.
To paraphrase our departing FLOTUS with the mostest: When he goes low, the world throws shade.
While our most celebrated practitioners of throwing shade tend to be entertainers like Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, RuPaul and Cher, who know the tools and techniques set down by their patron saints in the drag world — from your basic backhanded compliment to the not-so-subtle side-eye to the "no tea, no shade" disclaimer — several public and political figures from around the world have shown a talent for tactfully taking Trump down.
In partnership with TV Land, for the Jan. 17 premiere of its new late-night show Throwing Shade, we welcome the in-coming president to a world of shade.
First Lady shade
Before she defined the art of political shade in her famous "when they go low, we go high" speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama already demonstrated her mastery of the silent shutdown. Just ask former House Speaker John Boehner, who caught an epic side-eye/eye-roll combo after making an off-mic aside to President Barack Obama during an inaugural luncheon.
PEOTUS got a dose of FLOTUS shade from a searing October speech in which Obama responded to Trump's braggadocious hot-mic accounts of sexually assaulting women. After she destroyed the rationalization that it was merely "locker room banter," the First Lady thundered, "Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say, 'Enough is enough. This has got to stop right now.'"
Sadly, we elected a predatory misogynist anyway. But at the post-inaugural Women's March planned for Jan. 21, hundreds of thousands will take up Obama's call to stand up and say, "Enough is enough."
United Kingdom of shade
Of course, the Brits and Scots know shade. Even when they're being crude and sophomoric, they just sound more civilized.
Boris Johnson, London's former mayor and the current U.K. foreign secretary, was against Trump before he was for him, saying, "The only reason I wouldn't visit some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump."
But it was Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who best threw shade to power after Trump's election win. "I never want to be, I am not prepared to be, a politician that maintains a diplomatic silence in the face of attitudes of racism, sexism, misogyny or intolerance of any kind," said Sturgeon, who previously relieved Trump of his business ambassadorship to Scotland after his anti-Muslim remarks.
"People of progressive opinion the world over, I think, do have to stand up for the values of tolerance and respect for diversity and difference."
Even the pope felt compelled to shade candidate Trump on more than one occasion. Remarking on his anti-immigration agenda, Pope Francis told reporters, "A person who thinks only about building walls — wherever they may be — and not building bridges, is not Christian."
Then again, at the World Meeting of Popular Movements at the Vatican in November, Francis didn't need to mention Trump by when he warned against "false prophets that exploit fear and hopelessness to sell magical formulas of hate and cruelty."
Cold War shade
This kind of shade is downright chilling because, you know, world peace.
After Trump devoted much of his transition to taunting China on Twitter, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesmen responded with cool dismissals, saying, "we do not comment on his personality" and, later, "we don't pay attention to the features of foreign leaders' behavior — we focus more on their policies."
But the master of geopolitical shade is the object of Trump's unrequited admiration: none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin. Icy and imperturbable, Putin's default expression is the side-eye — when he wants to give you the side-eye, he looks. right. at. you. And by (allegedly) directing the hacking of DNC emails and mobilizing online trolls in order to influence the election in Trump's favor, Putin took shade to a Bond-villain-level with an unmistakable message: You've been owned.
Throwing Shade premieres at 10:30 p.m. Eastern/9:30 p.m. Central on Tuesday, Jan. 17 on TV Land. Watch the trailer below.
Correction: Jan. 17, 2017