How to describe Donald Trump? Like probably most writers, BoomerCafé’s co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs keeps trying to come up with a fresh way to do it. Now, he has compiled a list of words to draw from. But as Trump ramps up his behavior unbefitting a president, even this list might not be enough.
For some writers, “writer’s block” means you’re having trouble finding something to write about. Maybe it’s better described as “mental block” than “writer’s block.”
For me though, in this Terrifying Time of Trump— when “something to write about” explodes in our faces every day, sometimes every hour— the issue is something else: finding the right words to write. It’s not so much an impoverishment of material, as an oversupply. An oversupply of adjectives, an oversupply of nouns, to depict a pathologically dishonest, disrespectful, indecent, and increasingly desperate man.
What it comes down to is, every time I think I’ve found a few good words to portray this persistently poor president, the next thing he says, or the next thing he does, demands something even stronger.
So I’ve compiled a list of words that although far from exhaustive, paint a picture of Donald Trump. If you feel as I do that our nation will be forever diminished if we suffer these stains for four more years, feel free to sprinkle them into dialogues you have, and add more at your pleasure.
Mocking masks and ignoring social distancing, he holds campaign rallies with no concern for anyone else’s health.
There is a time and a place to throw around the F-word. A national radio broadcast isn’t one of them. Unless you’re Trump, earlier this month on Limbaugh.
Dangerous, that is, to American soldiers. The man won’t even scold Vladimir Putin for putting bounties on their lives.
“I think I’ve done more for the Black community than any other president, and let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln.” (June 12, 2020.) C’mon man, why stop there?
After a woman is killed protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Trump says, “Very fine people on both sides.” (August 15, 2017.)
Aside from his stale stock line that “even one death is too many,” we have never, NEVER actually heard somber remorse about more than 220,000 countrymen now dead from the coronavirus, whether Trump bears responsibility for many of those deaths or not.
His campaign ads create the impression of endorsements by Dr. Fauci, who is taken completely out of context, then by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose image is used without his permission.
Disconnected, that is, from reality. We are “rounding the corner.” (October 15, 2020.) Yeah, right. Declared on a day when at least ten states reported their highest coronavirus case totals since the pandemic began, a day when nationwide the curve is increasing on infections, on hospitalizations, and soon, if history is any guide, on deaths. Meantime, “Next year is going to be better than ever before.” Just like that. 11 million unemployed? Poof, you’ve got jobs. More homeless than ever before? Poof, you’ve got homes. Just like that.
“We will have Healthcare which is FAR BETTER than ObamaCare, at a FAR LOWER COST.” (October 12, 2020.) Oh yeah? When??
“The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.” (August 17, 2020.)
At a rally, upset about public safety efforts of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Trump fans chant “Lock her up.” All Trump says in response? “Lock them all up.” (October 17, 2020.) No mention, though, of the fans already locked up for plotting to kidnap, try, and execute the governor.
“Your all time favorite president.” (May 10, 2019.)
The latest? Claiming Democrats want to undermine white suburbs with African refugees.
Now he calls Dr. Fauci “a disaster,” then pouring it on with, “People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots.” (October 19, 2020.) Maybe it’s Trump who’s tired of hearing Fauci, whose latest national trust rating is more than half again higher than his.
Tax records show, Trump has leveraged the presidency to enrich his companies and line his pockets. His kids’ pockets too.
Does the name Stormy Daniels ring a bell? Or maybe Trump’s infamous boast, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pussy.” (2005.)
Sorry, there’s just not enough room on this page.
Mocking a disabled reporter. Denouncing a Gold Star family. Calling fallen heroes “losers.” Where shall we start?
Thousands of immigrant children, some just toddlers, separated from their parents. For months.
I know, I know, this sounds like a departure from the other adjectives until you understand what’s obscene about Trump’s loyalty: he’s loyal to white supremacists, to crazed conspirators, to the likes of Putin, and Kim Jong-un… far more loyal to them than to our allies in NATO.
A president who is duty bound to keep us safe, doesn’t.
Describing police dispersing crowds after a peaceful protest in Minneapolis: “I don’t know, there’s something about that— when you watch everybody getting pushed around— there’s something very beautiful about it.” (October 17, 2020.)
On his niece Mary: “She’s a mess.” (July 17, 2020.)
To the Proud Boys, who advocate violence: “Stand back and stand by.” (September 29, 2020.) Everything but “stand down.”
Look it up. Or, just watch Trump.
Determined to dismantle everything President Obama ever touched: foreign pacts, climate directives, health care.
Trump tweets that President Obama had the Navy’s Seal Team Six killed to cover up the fake death of Osama bin Laden. Oh sorry, my bad, he only “retweeted” it, so it’s not his fault.
This is former Trump chief of staff and retired Marine General John Kelly’s word for Trump, not just mine.
Exhibits A-Z: the first debate with Joe Biden.
Trump, after a Nevada rally where thousands ignored a state rule limiting the size of gatherings: “If the governor comes after you, which he shouldn’t be doing, I’ll be with you all the way.” (September 14, 2020.) Side note: the Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon said afterward, “The Bellagio fountain started spraying bleach.”
To quote another TV host, Trevor Noah, “How do you still trust this man after he admitted he’s been downplaying the coronavirus this whole time?… This is like believing a Nigerian email scammer after he tells you that he’s a Nigerian email scammer.’”
How else do you explain that as his polling numbers drop, all he knows how to do is double-down on the petty, perilous, reckless behavior that put his numbers in a ditch in the first place?
Tens of millions sliding deeper into despair, and he calls off the stimulus talks.
This is not exactly what you’d call leading by example: “I don’t know, somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute Desk, the great Resolute Desk. I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens— I don’t know, somehow I don’t see it for myself. I just, I just don’t.” (April 3, 2020.)
He attacks Governor Whitmer, the target of a murder plot. He doesn’t attack the terrorists who concocted it.
Suddenly, with the election looming, he’s going to send $200 drug prescription cards to seniors, billions to farmers, and billions more to Puerto Rico, which might win votes in Florida.
Encouraging disruption at polling places. Enabling voter suppression. Refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
Republican Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker says he “cannot support Donald Trump for President.” Ohio’s former GOP governor John Kasich says the same. The widow of 2008 GOP standard bearer John McCain endorses Biden. 2012 GOP standard bearer Mitt Romney votes to remove Trump from office.
Deflecting blame for his slow pandemic response: “I don’t take responsibility at all.” (March 13, 2020.)
On John Bolton after his book came out: “Just trying to get even for firing him like the sick puppy he is!” (June 18, 2020.)
Talking about Turkish President Erdogan, Trump tells journalist Bob Woodward, “It’s funny, the relations I have, the tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them.”
As Obama’s national security advisor Susan Rice realistically wrote about the pandemic, “People would have died with even the most aggressive president.” But what she wrote next paints the bigger picture: “President Trump’s willful failure to confront Covid-19 has brutalized our country.”
These, and other words that describe this man, might stand the test of time. I hope that with the election right around the corner, the test will be mercifully short.