Chanting “Justice for Big Bird,” Public Broadcasting Service stars claim that President Donald Trump’s planned budget cuts are targeted more at undercutting Democratic priorities than at shrinking the national debt. In a viral video, beloved Sesame Street star Elmo was informed that his days with the National Endowment for the Arts are numbered. In the words of the video’s maker, “Elmo, the Trump administration is cutting ALL arts and education funding from the new congressional budget.” According to multiple Washington insiders, congressional Republicans have long wanted to kill government funding for Big Bird.
Elmo, shocked beyond words, expressed his bitter anger during an interview on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert: “Elmo is confused,” he sobbed, “Just like that?! Elmo’s been working at Sesame Street for 32 years!” He sputtered for a bit, before saying, “But Elmo’s rent just went up!”
In a vain attempt to cheer up the bereaved Elmo, Colbert patted him on the back and said, “Eveything’s going to be okay, you can still be in show business! Just try merging into a different sector- how about getting a job taking pictures with tourists in Times Square?”
A host of planned funding cuts to federal agencies have been reported as part of the Trump administration’s desire to eliminate roughly $10.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, which amounts to nearly all of the federal government’s discretionary spending. But what do these cuts accomplish other than render Elmo homeless?
The answer appears to be that Trump and congressional Republicans are defunding a number of projects seen as liberal darlings — including groups aimed at preserving and supporting the environment, civil rights protections, endowment for the arts, minority-owned businesses and... public broadcasting.
Bert and Ernie were quick to point out that Sesame Street’s takedowns of Donald Trump, which involve comedic sketches aired throughout the decades leading up to his presidency and involving a puppet-facsimile of the current president voiced by Alec Baldwin, were a major motivation for his proposed defunding of public television.
In these satiric Sesame Street segments, Trump was most often depicted as a fuzzy green creature with an orange hairpiece known as a “grouch.” For those unfamiliar with these now iconic sketches, grouches are unpleasant monsters who base their cultural, political, moral and economic opinions around garbage. “That’s not necessarily an insult,” Oscar the Grouch stated in a joint interview with Kellyanne Conway on Fox and Friends.
But each time “Donald Grump” appeared as the badly toupee-d Muppet, he played the villain in a moral allegory. “Whenever Donald Grump visits Sesame Street, chaos is not far behind,” Big Bird said.
Still, more than just our beloved PBS stars are convinced that Trump’s efforts to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are revenge for his unflattering portrayal as Donald Grump. Even The Washington Post agrees. “Trump wants to defund PBS — ‘Sesame Street’ brutally parodied him for decades,” reads the headline to an arts and entertainment article by Avi Selk.
There is still much to come in this ongoing story, so for now, stay tuned.