Jake Tapper Slammed for Suggesting Biden Invite Trump to Queen's Funeral

Jake Tapper is getting ripped online after CNN's chief D.C. correspondent and news show host suggested it would be "clever" for President Joe Biden to invite former President Donald Trump to Queen Elizabeth II's funeral.

Tapper made the remarks Friday on his show, The Lead with Jake Tapper, as part of a roundtable discussion on Biden's awkward position on whether to bring along Trump, his predecessor and increasingly bitter political opponent, to the high-profile stately ceremony. While it's not unusual for ex-presidents to attend similar events, Biden and Trump have recently escalated their rivalry, accusing each other of being a threat to the Constitution.

Calling the situation "fascinating," Tapper said the U.K. has essentially left it up to Biden, who has indicated he'll attend the queen's funeral, on who to include in the delegation to the royal mourning ritual. Tapper called Biden's invites to former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter "no-brainers."

"What about Trump?" Tapper added. "Will he invite Trump?"

The conundrum comes to Biden a week after he blasted Trump and his so-called "MAGA Republican" allies in a speech in Philadelphia, calling the former president a threat to U.S. democracy who encourages political violence. Trump has accused Biden of "weaponizing" the Department of Justice for political purposes after an FBI search last month of his Mar-a-Lago estate for improperly held government documents.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN national affairs correspondent, noted that Obama invited his predecessors to the funeral of revered South African President Nelson Mandela in 2013.

"So there is protocol for having U.S. presidents invite other presidents," he said. "Who knows? Maybe in the spirit of forgiving and giving, President Biden will invite Donald Trump on the Air Force One. I doubt that'll happen. But I do expect some type of a bipartisan delegation."

Jake Tapper at SXSW
CNN's Jake Tapper speaks onstage with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders during SXSW at the Austin Convention Center on March 9, 2018, in Austin, Texas. Tapper is being criticized Friday for saying it would be "clever" for President Joe Biden to invite former President Donald Trump to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Steve Rogers/Getty Images

"I think that the clever move is to invite him and see if he goes," Tapper said. "I don't think former President Trump would want to be subordinate on Air Force One, and I think probably he prefers his own plane anyway."

Tapper was quickly panned on Twitter, with critics pointing out that Trump faces investigations in the alleged undermining of results from the 2020 presidential election and in the recovery of classified documents at his private residence in Florida.

Actor Brian Guest responded with a tweet directed at Tapper.

"Not sure you're aware of this but the last 'president' tried to overthrow our government and is being investigated for espionage for stealing national security secrets to his retirement home," he said. "What'd be 'clever' is if you just left journalism to real journalists."

Ray Reed, a former Democratic House candidate in Missouri, also pointed out that Trump could face potential espionage charges in the probe of the classified documents retrieved from his home. "He shouldn't be flying on Air Force One," he wrote.

Writer Charlotte Clymer in a tweet called Tapper's remarks a "feeble attempt at game theory."

"Another way to look at it—a glass half-full perspective, if you will—is gratitude that Jake Tapper is not in charge of the U.S. delegation," she said.

Newsweek has reached out to CNN for comment.