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press freedom day

For Press Freedom Day, Watch Trump Make Out with Giuliani in Drag

Give thanks for the First Amendment.

In many countries, a video like this would be controversial. Authoritarian governments the planet over, from China to Turkey to Iran, have a long history of blocking sites like YouTube, Twitter, or Wikipedia that provide users with information and news from the outside world. In Thailand, it's illegal to mock the king. In Eritrea, North Korea, and Syria, nearly all media is controlled by the state. Here in the US, debates over free speech lately have concerned the actions of a few angry college kids; in other countries, simply being critical of the government can get you killed.


Wednesday is World Press Freedom Day, so let's pause and savor this video, which was made as a joke in 2000, when Rudy Giuliani was the mayor of New York City and Donald Trump was just some rich guy. It made the rounds again last summer after Stephen Colbert called attention to it on his late-night show, telling the audience, "Just go online and put down 'Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, drag queen, and motorboat.'"

Again: In some countries, a comedian would worry about offending the leaders of a powerful political party. In some countries, it would be difficult to find an online video. And in some countries, a leader wouldn't allow a video like that to be so easily available after he took control of the government. After all, we're talking about a crassly homophobic, poorly acted sketch that might remind some people of the president's admitted fondness for sexual aggression. It's the sort of thing that Trump might want banned from the internet.

But despite the administration's stated wish to roll back inconvenient parts of the First Amendment, freedom of speech is very much alive and well in the US—especially in comparison to countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. So enjoy this video. Well, maybe "enjoy" is the wrong word.

Follow Harry Cheadle on Twitter.