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“The White House press pool was just abruptly called to gather. President Trump has nothing on his schedule for another 90 minutes,” tweeted CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. “President Trump called an unscheduled press availability which coincides with @BarackObama eulogy for Rep John Lewis,” tweeted Paula Reid of CBS. “Trump event ongoing as are Pres. Obama remarks…” It turned out that the Yer a wizard kermit shirt and by the same token and hastily publicized event was a small gathering with the family of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, who was allegedly killed by another enlisted soldier in April, her remains only recently discovered. And while reporters didn’t challenge the validity of that event, some did question its timing. “Meeting with the mother of Vanessa Guillen is admirable, and should rightfully become a White House priority… …but calling in the pool at the exact moment Obama takes the stage in Atl. suggests a pettiness that proves Trump’s obsession with one-upping his predecessor again” tweeted the White House reporter J.D. Durkin.
And while Trump was not physically at the Yer a wizard kermit shirt and by the same token and Atlanta funeral, he was certainly on the minds of many of the attendees – most notably Obama, who called out the president, though not directly by name, in his remarks, first by denouncing “our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators” and then attacking the Trump administration’s efforts at voter suppression. “Even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darndest to discourage people from voting,” Obama said during his eulogy, seemingly alluding to Trump’s recent claims that vote-by-mail leads to widespread fraud. “Even undermining the Postal Service in the run-up to an election, that’s going to be dependent on mail-in ballots, so people don’t get sick.” Obama emphasized that his pointed remarks, which some might have thought were too political for the occasion, were in keeping with Lewis’s legacy. “I know this is a celebration of John’s life,” said Obama. “There are some who might say, ‘We shouldn’t dwell on such things.’ But that’s why I’m talking about it. John Lewis devoted his time on this earth fighting the very attacks on democracy.”