Finding Dory, a movie about travellers, is Trump's first White House screening

The Pixar animation screened at the White House on Sunday is a tale of environmental alarm and family reunion across continents

As the chaos and protests at airports around the US gathered steam on Sunday after President Donald Trump’s startling travel ban on people coming to America from seven majority-Muslim countries, the White House had a lighter listing on its official schedule: a screening of Finding Dory at the White House family theater from 3pm.

Ellen DeGeneres on Finding Dory: ‘Her disability becomes her strength’ – video interview

As the film’s co-star Albert Brooks pointed out, the choice of the film – believed to be the president’s first official screening since his inauguration – comes with layers of irony. After Trump’s executive order, green card holders, visa holders and pre-approved refugees from countries in the Middle East and north Africa were detained at airports or pulled off airplanes around the world.

“Odd that Trump is watching Finding Dory today, a movie about reuniting with family when he’s preventing it in real life,” Brooks tweeted.

Odd that Trump is watching Finding Dory today, a movie about reuniting with family when he's preventing it in real life.

— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) January 29, 2017

A sequel to Finding Nemo, the Disney Pixar film follows Dory – a blue tang fish with short-term memory loss, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres – on her journey from the Great Barrier Reef to a marine life institute in California to reunite with her long-lost parents.

DeGegeneres did not refer to the Finding Dory screening, but was tweeting her opposition to the travel ban at about the same time as Brooks on Sunday.

“America is great because of all the people who came here,” she said. “Not in spite of them.”

For me, America is great because of all the people who came here. Not in spite of them. #NoBan

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 29, 2017

P.S. My grandparents were immigrants. The woman making us pizza right now is Muslim. And I'm grateful for all of them. #NoBan

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 29, 2017

Other Twitter users also drew attention to the irony of the film selection, with one posting: “Trump is screening Finding Dory today: the story of a foreigner entering the US without authorization to reunite with her parents #irony”.

Trump is screening "Finding Dory" today: the story of a foreigner entering the U.S. without authorization to reunite with her parents #Irony

— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) January 29, 2017

Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned. Trump watched Finding Dory

— Alex Dortenzio (@Dortayy) January 30, 2017

At 3pm, Trump is hosting a screening of Finding Dory, a movie about what happens when you're separated from your family.

Let that sink in.

— Alex Zalben (@azalben) January 29, 2017

Finding Dory is awash in themes of environmental conservation – an odd choice for a president who denies the existence of climate change and has claimed global warming is a hoax. In the movie, Dory swims through the beleaguered Great Barrier Reef to return to her childhood home: a habitat which rehabilitates marine life damaged by, among other things, the effects of climate change and pollution.

The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, clarified on Twitter that while the Finding Dory screening had gone ahead on Sunday, Trump wasn’t watching. “Actually he spent 60 seconds welcoming and thanking spouses and children of White House staff then right back to work,” he said.

Actually he spent 60 seconds welcoming & thanking spouses & children of WH staff then right back to work: up next 7pm call w South Korea

— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) January 29, 2017

On Wednesday DeGeneres issued a slight jab at Trump in the opening monologue of her daytime talk show.

“Unfortunately, Finding Dory did not get nominated [for an Oscar],” she said. “According to alternative facts, it did,” she joked, referring to the term used by the senior White House aide Kellyanne Conway while defending Spicer’s false claims of the turnout at Trump’s inauguration.


Steph Harmon

The GuardianTramp

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