An example to clarify:
Say John made a drunken fool of himself at the office party, which not everyone attended. On Monday, at the company lunch, Mike says publicly, with feigned sincerity, "John, I just want to let you know, we've all been there, and there's no reason to be embarrassed today." With this, even the absentees will inquire what happened, and the story will be retold.
There ingredients here are:
- Mike's intention was to highlight the episode with the aim of further humiliating John
- Mike's literal statement is the opposite of his intention, since intentionally embarrassing John would make him look bad
- Merely saying the thing is enough to accomplish goal 1. That is, what's important is directing people's attention to the subject.
Is there a word to describe this specific type of underhanded statement? Either a verb as in "Mike ____ John by pretending to comfort him at lunch". Or a noun as in "Mike's comforting John at lunch was an expertly executed ____"
Some clarifying notes
I'm after something far more specific than irony or misdirection. I'm really looking to name a specific social tactic for "innocently" directing attention to damaging information