Naming Slights

By Bob Franken

Maybe Donald Trump needs help with his cognitive ability. That might explain his need to assign derogatory labels before recalling someone’s name. Perhaps that’s why he refers to “Crooked Hillary” Clinton. Same for “Little Marco” Rubio, or “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz. Given his obsession with CNN, you’d think he wouldn’t need “Fake News CNN” to jog his mind.

Another possibility is that he’s plain old nasty, that he just needs to bully people, particularly those who might scratch his incredibly thin skin. Our president has such a fragile ego. That’s right, fragile ego. His bravado is transparently phony, revealing a frightened little boy in a large man’s body. How’s that for armchair psychology?

Name-calling is such a simple tactic. It’s a real shame that Trump has cornered the market. So the time has come for some blowhard blowback. Where do we begin? Actually, the question is, With whom do we begin? (No sentence-ending preposition for us.) It’s not an easy choice. Let’s face it, Donald Trump has brought along a cast of characters who are straight out of a freak show.

Communications director Anthony Scaramucci is out before he even officially started the job, after just 10 days of demonstrating his total lack of qualifications or temperament. Maybe we can take advantage of the fact that he likes to call himself “Mooch.” From here on out, he will be “Mucho Embarrassed Scaramucci.” His profane tweet containing accusations against Reince Priebus, who had been chief of staff, charging that he leaked public documents showed that Scaramucci truly didn’t understand how Washington communicates. So “Mucho Embarrassed Scaramucci” is history.

Certainly Priebus deserves his own designation, along with his longtime associate Sean Spicer, both of whom were collateral damage after “Mucho Embarrassed Scaramucci’s” diatribe. Both had been constantly humiliated by their boss, the prez. So now, as Priebus escapes, he could become “Relieved Reince,” and Spicer, who had become such a laughingstock as press secretary but now stands to make lots of money, can be designated “Raised Middle Finger Sean.”

Obviously Kellyanne will go down in history as “Alternative Fact Conway,” and strategic adviser Bannon could be labeled “Fascist Steve,” although if the speculation is correct and he’s soon out of a job, he might become “Banned Bannon.”

And that brings us to the main man himself: POTUS, The Trumpster. What sobriquet describes someone who is a bigot, a demagogue, misogynist, crass and impetuous? How do we capture the essence of a man who is obviously unqualified to lead this country, but does? And no, I’m not talking about Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump has proven to be a constant source of outrage and, might I add, entertainment … if you like crude slapstick. As such, in many ways he has made the lives of us journalists easier — we never want for something to report and analyze. That being the case, Donald Trump will hereafter be “Gift That Keeps Giving President Trump.” Or “Unreal Donald Trump.”

Let’s be completely fair and balanced about this, and include me. For those haters who are pondering what I should be called, how about “Know Nothing Bob”? Surely many will have other ideas; perhaps we’ll hear a few from “Mucho Embarrassed Scaramucci” now that he has time. Unfortunately, they’ll be unprintable.


Naming Slights–