Donald Trump’s tweets about television usually focus on the current-affairs programs he likes, such as Fox and Friends and Hannity, and those he does not, as in all others. (Occasionally he’ll gripe about Saturday Night Live, the show he once called a “guilty pleasure.”)
A tweet from his account today (Nov. 2) reimposing all sanctions on Iran strayed into new territory: television-drama based memes. With any hope, his may be the death knell for one over-used example in particular:
The tweet parodies the motto of HBO’s fictional Stark family, from the popular series Game of Thrones: “Winter is Coming.” Borrowing those words to live by may not have received quite the response Trump was hoping for.
Critics on Twitter chimed in with what they feel are more apt comparisons from the show’s universe. One suggested tiny despot Joffrey Baratheon, while another thought Trump resembled the show’s humanoid White Walkers: “fear-mongering, war-mongering, and championing division at every opportunity for political gain.”
HBO, for its part, wasn’t very pleased. In a statement to CNBC, HBO said that it was “not aware of this messaging and would prefer [its] trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes,” later following up with a tweet. The show’s stars, too, have spoken out about Trump’s joke.
Though Trump’s detractors may be urging HBO to sue, however, it’s likely Trump’s image doesn’t actually reflect copyright infringement. Free-speech principles in the First Amendment protect parodists—no matter how unfunny their jokes are.
Still, it’s a shame the character Daenerys Targaryen isn’t on Twitter to inform the president, and his trigger-happy thumbs: “The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands.”