Maher accuses Biden of ‘tragedy porn’ for trotting out family of Tyre Nichols at SOTU: ‘Exploitative’

HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher blasted President Biden for using Tyre Nichols’ family as political props during his upcoming State of the Union address on Feb. 7, accusing him of engaging in “tragedy porn” while bluntly calling it “gross.”

(Video Credit: FOX 32 Chicago)

I feel like this is tragedy porn,” Maher remarked concerning the news. “I really feel like this is gross. You know, it’s too soon to impose on that family now in their hour of grief to help you politically. I mean, it’s stunt casting, which they always do at the State of the Union address. And I just, I just feel it’s… we should be better than that.”

“It’s exploitative of a family in grief, newly in grief,” he charged echoing the sentiments of many Americans.

Maher’s panelists, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), both took exception to Maher’s claim. They predictably defended the president for his actions.

“That’s a call for the Nichols family to make,” Stephens asserted, referring to the widow who attended former President George W. Bush’s State of the Union after the 9/11 attacks as if it was even remotely similar. “Those are intensely, intensely personal calls.”

Right on cue, Gallego brought up former President Trump inviting the late conservative radio giant Rush Limbaugh to his last State of the Union, so he could award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He called it a prime example of “stunt casting.” Not exactly, Limbaugh had terminal lung cancer and would only live another couple of months. Trump was cognizant that time was running out for the great conservative orator.

“To talk to a family — talk, talk to the United States that is traumatized by seeing the government kill somebody I think is a good use of that time,” Gallego declared. “We are talking about the State of the Union. The country is talking about what just happened.”

“And it’s hard to say no,” Maher admitted. “It’s hard to say no to the president when he asks you to do that.”

He later said we should “get rid of the State of the Union,” something Stephens eagerly agreed with, comparing it to the Oscars.

(Video Credit: Real Time with Bill Maher)

“It’s depressing,” Maher commented. “Because it used to be a place where we would see us come together. I remember Gerald Ford was able to say, like 50 years ago, ‘The state of our union is bad,’ which no one would ever say because then it would be in every campaign commercial, but we trusted each other. It’s like, ‘Oh, you know what? Things do suck, and we’re all gonna pull together. And the dude in charge is admitting it and we’re all gonna work together.’ That would never happen.”

Gallego was against nixing the State of the Union. He told Maher that “traditions do matter” and that “it’s important for the president to communicate his vision and speak to the country.”

Nichols’ death has become a flashpoint for the country. The 29-year-old was viciously beaten by five black Memphis police officers following a traffic stop on Jan. 7. He died three days later in the hospital.

Demetrius Haley, Tadarrius Bean, Emmitt Martin, Desmond Mills, and Justin Smith were fired on Jan. 18 and were later charged with second-degree murder, according to Fox News. They could potentially face up to 60 years in prison if convicted.

A sixth police officer, Preston Hemphill, was also fired following the incident. He has been charged with “multiple” violations of policy within the department. It is unclear whether he will face any criminal charges.

Two Memphis Fire Department EMTs who were fired for failing to aid Nichols after he was beaten by police had their licenses suspended Friday, according to WREG. EMT Advanced JaMichael Sandridge and EMT Robert Long were two of the three fire department employees who were fired on Jan. 30 for their role in Tyre Nichols’ death.

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