A Washington Post op-ed writer has compared President Donald Trump's speaking style to that of Jar Jar Binks, the much-loathed alien character from the Star Wars prequels, and the column was approvingly cited by George Conway, the frequently Trump-critical husband of White House aide Kellyanne Conway.
The column, written by Republican pundit Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, was published under the headline "Words Are a President's Strongest Weapon. Trump is Terrible At Words." In pointing specifically at the president's Rose Garden address in which he announced his emergency declaration, the piece is critical of the "rambling and disjointed" rhetorical style used by the president both in that speech, and more generally.
"One word seemed to spark a thought and off he would go chasing it, like a dog catching the scent of a truffle and wandering off into a forest in search of it," Olsen wrote.
But Olsen later referenced Star Wars, in a bit that was quoted on Twitter by Mr. Conway.
"To borrow from popular culture, Trump looks less like the sinister Emperor Palpatine and more like the hapless Jar Jar Binks," Conway quoted while sharing Olsen's column on Twitter.
Jar Jar Binks was a completely computer-animated character, voiced by Ahmed Best, who made his debut in George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, in 1999. Meant to serve as a comic relief character who would appeal to young children, Jar Jar quickly became perhaps the most hated character in Star Wars history. Fans found him annoying and unnecessary, especially his speech patois ("mee say people gonna die?") that was dismissed as tiresome at best and racist at worst. Jar Jar was seen as one of the main reasons why the prequel trilogy is seen as a disappointment.
The anti-Jar Jar backlash was so intense that the character was barely included in the other two prequels, and never appeared in any other Star Wars movie. And Best, the actor who voiced him, revealed in 2018 that he was so bothered by the reception to Jar Jar that he considered suicide, per the BBC.George Conway, a longtime Republican lawyer, has never been shy about sharing his criticism of the president, even as his wife continues to serve him. In a Washington Post profile of the couple last year, Kellyanne even attempted to go off the record, in describing her dissatisfaction with her husband's tweets as "a person familiar with their relationship." The reporter, however, refused to go along, and published the exchange in full.