Having been ridiculed for his thumbs-up picture with the president-elect, his soft-touch questions - which led to nonsensical replies - Gove is now being skewered on social media for one particularly descriptive paragraph of his report.
While describing the opulence of Trump’s lift in his namesake Tower, Gove’s language became a little too culturally off-colour for many, as he detailed the ethnic background of the Republican’s lift attendant, then linked him to Gone with the Wind, the 1939 movie as famous for its romantic storyline as its racial stereotypes.
Gove begins the offending passage of text at the doors of Trump’s lift and things quickly go downhill from there:
“My colleague KaiDiekmann, of the German newsaper Bild, and I were whisked up to the president-elect’s office in a lift plated with reflective golden panels and operated by an immensely dignified African-American attendant kitted out in frock coat and white gloves. It was as though the Great Glass Elevator from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had been restyled by Donatella Versace then staffed by the casting director for Gone with the Wind.”
“Michael Gove sees a black man and immediately imagines him on a plantation,” the Daily Telegraph’s Anita Singh wrote on Twitter.
Comedian Frankie Boyle was more blunt, offering Gove the wisdom of hindsight: “Really wouldn’t have mentioned cotton.”
The quality of Gove’s prose was also dissected: Writer Pete Paphides suggested his smugness could be read between the lines, while another joked the journalist had misunderstood his editor’s request to use more descriptive language to detail the meeting and his surroundings.
Other critiques of Gove’s performance were more broad.
But amongst it all, there was a little sympathy for the man who stabbed Boris Johnson in the back during the Conservative Party leadership race that resulted in eventual winner, Theresa May, demoting him to the back benches.
Another point in Gove’s article likely to be debated is his defence of Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, who has been “accused of every form of hate speech of which mankind is capable, including antisemitism.”
Gove opines: “That allegation sits incongruously, to say the least, with his close personal friendship and political alliance with Kushner (trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner), who is an observant Orthodox Jew and a staunch Zionist.”