Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat with a reputation for riling Republicans and weathering numerous controversies, entertained a crowd Sunday with a joke about President Donald Trump falling into the Potomac.
The joke, at a rally sponsored by 16 of South Florida’s Broward County Democratic clubs, revolved around the difference between a “crisis” and a “catastrophe.”
A crisis, he said, is if the Trump falls into the Potomac River in the nation’s capital, according to an account in the Florida Sun Sentinel.
A catastrophe, Hastings said, would be if “anybody saves his ass.”
The quip was one of many Hastings aimed at the president during the event, which he emceed. It was attended by four of the five Democratic candidates for governor and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who is seeking re-election. Nelson and the gubernatorial candidates had left by the time Hastings delivered his one-liner, the newspaper reported.
Hastings criticized the president’s mental capacity to do his job.
“There is no question that something is tragically wrong with the president of the United States in his mind,” he said.
He also said he’s had to modify one of his regular lines. He used to say that if Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the president, doesn’t bring down Trump, “Stormy Daniels will.”
He has since swapped the porn actress’ name for that of Omarosa Manigault Newman, he said, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Daniels says she was paid hush money to keep quiet about past sexual involvement with Trump. Newman, a former reality TV show contestant turned White House aide, has released covert recordings she made of her firing and of Trump’s daughter-in-law offering her $15,000 a month to keep quiet about Trump.
“We’ve seen a degradation in our society, a turning back of the clock in a way that none of us ever imagined would occur,” Hastings said, the newspaper reported.
Hastings was one of a handful of lawmakers to emerge seemingly unscathed when a series of sexual harassment allegations and related scandals took down several of his colleagues last year.
During the fallout from the #metoo movement, Roll Call reported that taxpayer funds were used to pay a secret $220,000 settlement to a former aide at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe who alleged Hastings had sexually harassed her while he chaired the commission. Hastings denied the allegations and said he did not know of the settlement before it was reported.
Hastings has survived other controversies that threatened his career, including his 1988 impeachment as a federal judge stemming from bribery allegations.