CNN political anchor Jake Tapper was criticized on social media for saying it would be “clever” of President Biden to invite his predecessor, Donald Trump, to join the American delegation to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London next week.
During a panel discussion on Tapper’s “The Lead” program on Friday, the anchor said it was “fascinating to me” that “it’s going to basically be left up to President Biden as to whether or not he brings other presidents with him to the Queen’s funeral.”
Tapper noted that British authorities have left it up to the Americans to decide who attends the state funeral next Monday in London.
The anchor then listed ex-presidents who he thought were “no-brainers” — Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.
“What about Trump?” Tapper asked CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny.
“Will he invite Trump?”
“That is a difficult question of protocol and diplomacy,” Zeleny responded.
Zeleny said he was told by “a couple of diplomatic officials” that “it would be an easy solution if Trump wasn’t in the picture.”
He then recalled that while Obama was in the office, he followed “protocol” by inviting Bush, Carter and Bill Clinton to join the US delegation to the funeral of South African leader Nelson Mandela.
“Who knows?” Zeleny asked. “Maybe in the spirit of forgiving and giving, President Biden will invite Donald Trump on the Air Force One.”
“I doubt that will happen, but I do expect some kind of a bipartisan delegation.”
The Biden administration announced on Monday that the president and first lady will be the only government officials who will be in attendance at the funeral. There will be no delegation, according to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
The Post has sought comment from Trump’s office.
“I think the clever move [for Biden] is to invite [Trump],” Tapper responded, adding: “And see if he goes.”
Tapper then predicted that Trump “would not want to be subordinate on Air Force One” and would thus decline the invitation.
Biden’s Justice Department is currently investigating Trump for allegedly hoarding classified information at his Mar-a-Lago estate after he departed from the White House in January of last year.
The suggestion that Biden should invite the former president, who never conceded his 2020 election loss, enraged Democrat-leaning Twitter users.
“Look,” MSNBC host Katie Phang tweeted. “If TFG (the former guy) ends up on Air Force One, he’ll try to steal that, too. So let’s NOT invite the Insurrectionist Guy to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.”
“What the ACTUAL F is wrong with Jake Tapper?” tweeted the left-leaning Twitter personality known as “BrooklynDad_Defiant.
“Is he trying to remind us all how stupid & s–tty he and CNN are?”
He added: “If so, mission accomplished.” The tweet was punctuated by an emoji depicting someone vomiting.
Another Twitter user, Brian Guest, also let Tapper have it.
“Hey @jaketapper,” he tweeted.
“Not sure you’re aware of this but the last ‘president’ tried to overthrow our government and is being investigated for espionage for stealing national security secrets to his retirement home.”
Guest added: “What’d be ‘clever’ is if you just left journalism to real journalists.”
A state funeral service is scheduled for next Monday at Westminster Abbey.