Op-ed: Naming slights

  • By Bob Franken
  • Wednesday, August 2, 2017 10:13am
  • Opinion

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. Otherwise, he would struggle. 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. The same goes for the “Failed New York Times,” or recently “Amazon Washington Post,” which has to do with the fact that Amazon honcho Jeff Bezos also owns the Post. That’s kind of obscure, but it would be consistent with the explanation that his synapses aren’t snapping like they used to.

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. Taunting can be fun. Come to think of it, taunting is fun, particularly for someone like our president who 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 — time to play the same malicious game. 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. And 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.” It kind of has a ring to it, doesn’t it?

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, but rather Donald Trump. He 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, as long as you overlook the fact that we can never sleep easy, knowing that while we do, he might say or tweet something ridiculous and therefore newsworthy. Still, we definitely 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.

Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast journalist, including 20 years at CNN.

More in Opinion

The official ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Division of Elections)
Voices of the Peninsula: Check out the ballot before you vote

This kind of ballot is not something you have seen before.

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Why I’m voting for Walker

Walker is the only candidate with the potential to govern effectively for all Alaskans.

Nick Begich III campaign materials sit on tables ahead of a May 16 GOP debate held in Juneau. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Nick Begich is who Alaska and America need now

It is in Alaska’s best interest to elect a member of the Republican party

State Sen. Josh Revak (Photo provided)
The time has come to end Big Tech’s rule

The hope is that the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) will come to the Senate floor for a vote

Michael Heimbuch attends a memorial service for the late Drew Scalzi on Aug. 5, 2005, at the Seafarers Memorial on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Point of View: King salmon: The clash of culture and science

People do some pretty awful things to king salmon stocks

Lieutenant governor candidate Edie Grunwald speaks at a Charlie Pierce campaign event at Paradisos restaurant in Kenai on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Election Integrity: An Alaskan question with an Alaskan answer

A needless round of feel-good meetings and what-if conversations will be a thing of the past

This photo shows the University of Alaska Southeast campus in Juneau. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’m a longtime educator, and I’m supporting Walker/Drygas

The issues our state faces are significant with regard to education.

Larry Persily (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Congress could keep health insurance costs from rising, but it has to act fast

The cost of health insurance will rise substantially next year for about 13 million Americans

The offical ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Divison of Elections)
Opinion: Alaskans deserve an election system that represents our differences

The new system’s goal is to make this election cycle transparent, secure and easy for all Alaskans to vote

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell (Courtesy)
Opinion: UAA’s career certificates are helping to fill Alaska’s workforce pipeline

At UAA, we are announcing a new suite of certificate programs responding to some of the state’s most critical needs

Opinion: Remaining vigilant after 30 years

Exxon Valdez spurred both federal and state legislatures, the industry, and the public to come together