Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy will probably have even more respect for former Reality TV star Donald Trump now. Because winging it for Reality TV isn’t as easy as it looks. In a video he posted to Twitter, McCarthy delivered a smooth off-the-cuff ad-lib in a “mic’d up” moment as he strolled the Capitol grounds, posing for selfies with fans and saying how it was an “awesome day.”
The “day-in-the-life” stroll is a reality show staple — and McCarthy clearly enjoys himself and his personal interactions on this windy February day.
🎙️ Mic’d up pic.twitter.com/6UNSUKzJzA— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) February 23, 2023
But ask any Reality producer — a show needs content. McCarthy obliges, taking the opportunity to show off some of his knowledge of the Capitol — even at the risk of sounding like a Washington insider to his base.
When the California congressman goes off script to give a little Capitol tour, he regales his crew with a story about how William Howard Taft — the 27th president of the United States and later a Supreme Court Justice — lost “a hundred pounds” after he was president.
McCarthy implies that Taft carried around the extra girth because he “hated being president” and pointed out that in the image of Taft portrayed on the Supreme Court building, the former president “looks kind of chiseled.”
McCarthy says: “You know he lost a hundred pounds when they put him on the Supreme Court after being President. He hated being President.”
Taft’s image on the Court building certainly does look lean, especially for a famously corpulent man. But it’s not, as McCarthy says, because once Taft ditched the Oval Office, he quit the pretzels and hit the gym. It’s because the image, sculpted by artist Robert Aiken, represents “Taft as a youth.”
Supremecourt.gov describes the artwork this way: “On either side are groups of three figures depicting Council and Research which Aitken modeled after several prominent individuals concerned with the law or the creation of the Supreme Court Building. At the left are Chief Justice Taft as a youth, Secretary of State Elihu Root, and the architect Cass Gilbert. Seated on the right are Chief Justice Hughes, the sculptor Aitken, and Chief Justice Marshall as a young man.”
For McCarthy, no harm, no foul, of course — harmless misinformation is the best kind of misinformation, especially when it comes to elected officials. And, of course, with a seasoned politician’s unerring sense of the fine line, everything McCarthy says is true — it’s just not right. Taft did lose some serious weight when he started working at the Supreme Court — in a building that is, perhaps not coincidentally, adorned with scales.