Chris Rodda Has Dramatic Grammar Fail in Attack on President Trump

Chris Rodda, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s research assistant at the MRFF, fancies herself a distinguished, if somewhat self-styled, author. On Friday, though, her failures in basic grammar and research made her boss look like an idiot.

Late on Friday Chris Rodda published a blog entitled “Trump Cites “Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day” Law to Order Flags Flown at Half-Staff for Billy Graham.”

It doesn’t sound particularly egregious, but it does sound stupid. Presidents don’t even write those things, so some staff weenie really messed up and made President Trump look bad, didn’t they?

Except they didn’t.

President Trump’s message was actually published more than a week prior, and it made no reference to any law. Rodda hand-waved the apparent contradiction of her argument with a mysterious [emphasis added]

Trump also issued an extra special version of this order to the military.

As is standard Chris Rodda practice, she provides no evidence of any “extra special” order to the military. What she does provide is an excerpt from the body of an “email from someone“:

1. AT THE DIRECTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH U.S. CODE, TITLE 36, SECTION 129, THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE FLOWN AT HALF-STAFF ON FRIDAY, MARCH 2, 2018, AS A MARK OF RESPECT FOR THE MEMORY OF REVEREND BILLY GRAHAM…

Rodda’s in-depth analysis:

Yes, our moron-in-chief just ordered our military to honor Billy Graham by the authority vested in him by a “National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day” law!

Rodda also claims this “was found in inboxes across the military,” though she doesn’t explain how she knows that. (For reference, the same paragraph and observation about the law did make it to the atheist Reddit.)

We’ll start today’s lesson, Christine, with a poor man’s diagram of the sentence to demonstrate the power of the word “and” [emphasis added]:

AT THE DIRECTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

AND

IN ACCORDANCE WITH U.S. CODE…

The conjunction “and” separates two distinct ideas. A plain — and grammatically correct — reading indicates the “direction of the President” is not reliant upon the US Code. Rather, whoever crafted that text chose to cite two separate things — one was the President, and the other was the Code.  There was no claim to “vested” authority.

So who wrote the message?

Rodda says it was the “moron-in-chief”, but she provides no evidence of authorship, and she very conveniently left off the email headers (which is telling and rather unusual for the MRFF). Presidents do tend to sign their messages, you know, and most public statements aren’t written in the third person, as Rodda seems to claim here.

In fact, Chris Rodda is wrong — and five minutes of research by this research assistant could have revealed that.

Local commands at many (but not all) military facilities frequently publish messages explaining the reason the flag is at half-staff. It’s not entirely clear if this is as a public service or just to head off the inevitable inquisitive phone calls. Sometimes they come from Public Affairs, sometimes from a command channel.

Here’s a link to an announcement from Joint Base Charleston’s Facebook page explaining the flag lowering last week.  Below is the text of yet another example at a different location:

At the direction of the President of the United States, the flag of the United States shall be flown at Half-Staff on Friday, March 2, 2018 from sunrise until sunset. The flag will be flown at half-staff as a mark of respect for the memory of Reverend Billy Graham.

Note the lack of full capitalization, the different wording, and the lack of reference to any US Code by both of these other announcements. Did these other military locations get different “special orders” from President Trump?  Why weren’t their inboxes full of Chris Rodda’s “special order”?

To paraphrase, sometimes the simplest explanation really is the explanation.

Both of those messages were simply published by different local offices — just as the email Rodda excerpted was similarly published by a local office — not the White House.

President Trump didn’t write that “extra special” order.  It was written by some poor yeoman in a public affairs office or command post — one who is probably now embarrassed (but only if he reads Daily Kos, so he’s probably fine).  He probably edited a previous message about the flag to publish this one (a common practice) and missed a key detail.

If Rodda had bothered to do a little research, it wouldn’t have been hard to figure this out (given the MRFF’s “thousands” of “clients” in uniform).

But who’s worried about truth when you think you’ve got something to attack President Trump over, right?  Of course, if “Trump cites wrong law” is the best the case of “military religious freedom” Chris Rodda and Mikey Weinstein can manufacture, things must be pretty good right now.  There’s clearly nothing else more important to talk about.

Weinstein and Rodda were probably trying to figure out something that would get them in the news regarding Billy Graham and President Trump, the two news highlights for this past week. Publicity (even bad publicity, sometimes) translates into money for Mikey Weinstein, and it’s been a slow couple of months with religious freedom in the military sailing along, and few to no accusations of a Christian nuclear war being planned by US military officers.

Seems Chris Rodda thought she had a winner.

Oops.

Don’t quit your day job, Christine.

2 comments

  • I have long thought the Weinstein and his minions write their own “fake news” complaining letters… espiecially the hate mail.

    So much of these writings have the same tone and style.

    • @Bob Andrews
      Some of the “complaining letters” are indeed produced by the MRFF itself, as has been shown in the past. One MRFF “client” also admitted Weinstein had coached the letter he wrote, to make it better for public consumption.

      As to the hate mail, Weinstein probably attracts a fair amount of genuine vitriol, but you probably have good reason to be suspicious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *