When President Donald Trump gave his 2020 State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, February 4, the tension between him and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was impossible to miss: Trump refused to shake Pelosi’s hand, and Pelosi tore up a copy of Trump’s speech after he was done. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an apparent jab at Pelosi, tweeted an image of the Lisa Simpson character from “The Simpsons” tearfully ripping up a piece of paper — and Pompeo was chastised for it by a former executive producer for that popular animated sitcom.
Bill Oakley, with the help of writing partner Josh Weinstein, served as executive producer of “The Simpsons” during its seventh and eighth seasons. On Twitter, Oakley told Pompeo, “Mr. Secretary of State, please do not ever ever ever use Simpsons material in your Twitter or watch the show or refer to it in any way.”
The Lisa Simpson image that Pompeo tweeted is from a 1991 episode titled “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington” — which pre-dates Oakley’s years on the show. In that third season episode, Lisa Simpson writes an essay on government that is competing for a prize, but she tears it up and cries after seeing a congressman accepting a bribe and feeling disillusioned with the American political system. The congressman Ois arrested after she speaks out, and her faith in democracy is restored even though she doesn’t win the contest.
Oakley tweeted, “To be clear, this episode aired before @Joshstrangehill and I even worked on the show and was written by the genius George Meyer and I say this to Mr. Pompeo as a FAN of this episode, not someone who worked on it. If he starts using Steamed Hams, then this will become personal.”
“Steamed Hams” was an episode from the show’s seventh season, which Oakley did work on.