What Is A Kangaroo Court? Explaining Trump's Tweet

Oct 9, 2019
Originally published on October 9, 2019 5:10 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

As Democrats and Congress go back and forth on the impeachment inquiry into President Trump's discussions with foreign leaders, the rhetoric has been intense and, at times, colorful.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Like yesterday, when on Twitter, President Trump compared the House committees looking into impeachment to a, quote, "compromised kangaroo court."

KELLY: Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz leaned into that metaphor - even took it a step further.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MATT GAETZ: And Chairman Schiff is acting like a malicious Captain Kangaroo.

KELLY: In case you're too young to recall, "Captain Kangaroo" was a kids' TV show - started in the 1950s, ran almost 30 years.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CAPTAIN KANGAROO")

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) Captain Kangaroo.

KELLY: Not to say that Captain Kangaroo never got political.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "CAPTAIN KANGAROO")

BOB KEESHAN: (As Captain Kangaroo) What's going on around here? Vote for Mr. Moose - for what?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) For president.

KEESHAN: (As Captain Kangaroo) Surely not president of the United States.

COSMO ALLEGRETTI: (As Mr. Moose) Well, it's a free country. Why can't a moose be president?

CORNISH: But the problem is a kangaroo court doesn't refer to a legal proceeding presided over by Captain Kangaroo.

KELLY: No, it does not. The phrase, in fact, refers to a court that circumvents the law. It comes, most experts say, from the quick justice imposed on many rowdy Aussies in the California gold rush of 1849.

CORNISH: So put that in your pouch in case anyone ask. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.