Alan Zendell, May 10, 2019
Stop a hundred people at random and ask each of them which adjective pops into their heads when they hear the name Donald Trump. For those not wearing MAGA hats, words like insulting, immoral, unscrupulous, insensitive, and dishonest will come up pretty often. It’s not just that the majority of Americans feel that way about him. He cultivates that personality cult.
At first, we were shocked by the way he refers to people and institutions he doesn’t like. Before the Trump era, we’d been told that to get along, much less to be successful, we had to behave with decorum, exhibit self-restraint, respect other people, and empathize with their problems. When Trump attacked political correctness during his campaign, we didn’t realize that he was really assailing truth, fairness, courtesy, and decency – all the things we’d been taught to venerate and aspire to.
Our next mistake was to assume Trump was a social illiterate, a boor, an awkward, sometimes raging bull who leaves chaos and destruction in his wake because he doesn’t know any better. It took us a long time to realize his persona is carefully crafted and thought out. Don’t ever confuse his lies and misstatements of fact with incompetence or stupidity. He knows exactly what he’s doing at all times. It’s diabolical.
Trump uses insults as a tactic to put people on the defensive, and despicable as that is, it’s remarkably effective. He’s a master at baiting people who oppose him because he has a predator’s instinct for their weaknesses. He succeeds with such antics because he’s absolutely shameless. Nothing embarrasses him. No action is too base or vulgar for Donald Trump.
Remember all the nicknames he coined? Lyin’ Ted (Cruz), Crooked Hillary (Clinton), Liddle Marco (Rubio), Pocahontas (Elizabeth Warren), Liddle Bob Corker, Liddle Adam Schitt (Schiff), Little Michael Bloomberg, Low Energy Jeb (Bush), Crazy Maxine Waters, Leaking-Lying-Slimeball James Comey, Fat Jerry (Nadler), MS-13 Lover (Nancy Pelosi), Dumb as a Rock (Rex Tillerson), Mad Dog (James Mattis), Fake-Failing-Crooked-Pathetic-Dishonest (any media personality or entity that criticized him) – and they’re just a few.
The nicknames worked because we and the media took his bait and reacted exactly the way he wanted us to. His Republican primary opponents were defenseless because they weren’t adept at playing Trump’s nasty games. Decades of education and experience in public life conditioned them to hold back, at least publicly.
We were taught to play by the rules, even fight by them. How many times did our parents, teachers, and counselors admonish us to “fight fair”? That’s the crux of it. If you fight fair with someone who has no respect for rules, guess who wins?
Three years after Trump’s bullying and baiting dismantled the Republican Party, the Democrats seem to have learned from watching. Trump regularly insulted Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of things that were over the top, but she never quailed under his attacks and never acted in kind. The Democratic Committee Chairs also seem to have learned a thing or two. What we hear from all of them are calm, quietly reasoned rebuttals.
They may lose in the end, but they realize that grounding themselves in the defense of the same Constitution Trump swore to protect is their best course of action. It’s, “Do your worst, Donald. See you in Court. The law’s on our side.” We won’t know if it really is until Trump’s Supreme Court says so, but it’s the strongest hand they have to play.
Enter Joe Biden, who was immediately dubbed “1% Joe” by you know who. Biden said he wouldn’t get involved in the name-calling game, but last week he called Trump a clown and a no-good S. O. B. The media called that a classic Biden gaffe. Seriously?
In an era in which the President gets away with anything that spouts from his mouth, do we really want to muzzle a man like Joe Biden? When, during the last campaign, Trump boasted of his sexual exploits, Biden said, “If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.” Forgive me, but I cheered. Who doesn’t love to see a bully taken down? How about letting them settle things one-on-one instead of putting the country through another excruciating election season? Donny versus Joe, winner takes all.
My advice to Joe is to find the perfect nickname for Trump, one that addresses all of his insecurities that will get under his skin and infuriate him whenever he hears it. I have one that I’ve scientifically test marketed with at least seven people.
Henceforth, let Donald Trump be known as “The Tweet Fairy.”