The other day, I have a dim recollection of hearing the President of the United States delivering a line from Casablanca, and then having a talking head explain it all. Of course it was a dream right?

Later the same evening, I came across the source of what seemed like a dream, but wasn’t. Obama was giving a speech to the Democratic National Committee in which he offered his thoughts on Donald Trump.

How can you be shocked? This is the guy, remember, who was sure that I was born in Kenya — who just wouldn’t let it go. And all this same Republican establishment, they weren’t saying nothing. As long as it was directed at me, they were fine with it. They thought it was a hoot, wanted to get his endorsement. And then now, suddenly, we’re shocked that there’s gambling going on in this establishment.1

It’s the last sentence. It echoes the scene from the film in which Captain Renault is closing Rick’s Cafe on the orders of German Major Strasser. Since he has no reason to do this, he makes one up.

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?

Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]

Croupier: Your winnings, sir.

Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

Captain Renault: [aloud] Everybody out at once!2

That is one of my favourite lines from the film and I have used it in conversation. It was especially timely as I just watched Casablanca again recently with Julie, because she had never seen it before. We certainly had to fix that! Then a couple of weeks later, this!

I find it curious that the television news report felt the need to explain it while the Washington Post article did not.


  1. Nora Chokshi, “Obama’s brutal assessment of the rise of Donald Trump: He’s ‘selling stuff like it’s the Home Shopping Network’” from The Washington Post (as reprinted in The National Post), March 12, 2016.
  2. Casablanca,” The Internet Movie Database, retrieved March 15, 2016.