Perhaps it was the way he arched an eyebrow. Or maybe it was the momentary twitch of his nose. Could it have been that barely seen curl of the lip?
Somehow, somehow, we must see that Chief Justice John Roberts was critical of President Donald Trump in his commencement address for ninth grade graduates at Cardigan Mountain School even though his name was not mentioned nor was there anything that could be remotely interpreted as the slightest reference to him. Such desperation to discern criticism, where none existed, of Trump by the Chief Justice came from Los Angeles Times editorial writer Michael McGough in his July 3 opinion piece, A Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. speech that should make Trump's ears burn.
If you want a Fourth of July corrective to Trump’s tweet, check out a video featuring the head of another branch of the U.S. government. This is the commencement speech delivered last month by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to the graduating class of his son’s middle school.
A video in which Trump was not mentioned at all plus not a hint of reference to him. A complete nothingburger as far as Trump criticism except in the fervid imagination of the author who needs to conjure up fantasy Trump slamming.
Roberts’ speech, tailored to an audience of 14-year-old boys and their parents, can be read as a long subtweet of Donald Trump. Without mentioning the president, Roberts extols virtues Trump conspicuously lacks.
Perhaps we need to bombard that speech video with photons to detect imaginary criticism of Trump at the subatomic level.
In one of the most striking passages of the speech, Roberts told the students: “I wish you bad luck ... so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life, and understand that your success is not completely deserved, and that the failure of others is not completely deserved, either.”
And this is criticism of Trump...how?
...much of what Roberts said could also plausibly come from the mouth of a president -- but not, unfortunately, this one.
Perhaps it could come from the mouth of Joe Biden. He is good at plagiarizing speeches. Oh, and the Chief Justice's speech won't make President Trump's ears burn but perhaps your interpretation of it as Trump criticism will make his belly laugh.