Partway through Trump’s first year in office, I wrote the predecessor to this post. As we near the end of his term rampage, who would have thought I’d be able to create an entirely new list of 26 horrifying words associated with our 45th president? Anyone who’s ever heard him speak (or Tweet), that’s who.
Over the last four years, I, like so many others, have thought “Surely this can’t get any worse” more times than I can count. Each time I was proven wrong, as Trump’s ego, ineptitude and callousness one-upped itself on a near daily basis.
As a parent, I’ve also had more difficult conversations with my son than I can count. In the last 12 months alone, we’ve discussed enough terrible topics to fill a lifetime. How in the hell were we supposed to be prepared for all this? The chapters on global pandemics, police brutality, psychotic leaders and domestic terrorism were missing from my parenting handbook.
So sit back, raise a glass (or two) and help me toast an alphabet we hope to never repeat. Again.
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THE ABCs of TRUMP, Part 2
Warning: As with everything Trump-related, some language may not be suitable for children. Or anyone, for that matter.
A is for ALTERNATIVE FACTS
When a kid exaggerates out of embarrassment or self-centeredness, it’s a fib. When it’s Kellyanne Conway defending false claims about the overblown attendance of Trump’s inauguration, it’s a bald-faced lie. The moment we began to realize the amount of fucked-up fiction we were in for. • Alternative As: Antifa, asinine
B is for BULLY
Trump is the quintessential bully, in that he finds pleasure in cruelty, equates intimidation with power and has no sense of remorse. He also likely doesn’t know what “quintessential” means.
C is for CONSPIRACY THEORY
If there’s a conspiracy floating around, you can bet Trump either started or promoted it. A suspicious sampling: anti-vax/vaccines cause autism, Biden/Ukraine connection, climate change denial, COVID-19 conspiracies (of which there are legion), “deep state,” Epstein didn’t commit suicide, Hurricane Maria death toll, Obama “birther” conspiracy, QAnon, Russia investigation counterclaims, Stop the Steal/voter fraud and impersonation, Trump Tower wiretapping, wind turbines cause cancer.
For the full list, check out THE ENTIRE WIKIPEDIA PAGE dedicated to Trump’s favorite conspiracy theories. • Extra Cs: Charlottesville, China, coronavirus, coup
D is for DEMAGOGUE
According to Wikipedia, a demagogue is a political leader who gains popularity by pitting “common people” against “elites.” Methods of demagoguery include: scapegoating, fearmongering, lying, accusing opponents of weakness and disloyalty, promising the impossible, violence and intimidation, vulgarity and outrageous behavior, gross oversimplification, attacking the news media. Sound familiar?
E is for ESCALATOR
This is a two-fer. To kick-off his presidential bid, Trump descended an escalator in the atrium of Trump Tower. The crowd was largely fake, the event scoffed by most, and was the beginning of our country’s descent into disarray.
Additionally, Trump is CEO of Shit-Stirring; the Trumper-Up of Turmoil; the Escalator-in-Chief. Take any issue, event or diplomatic relationship, and Trump is sure to make it more problematic, divisive and incendiary.
F is for FOUR SEASONS TOTAL LANDSCAPING
The bewildering site of a press conference contesting Biden’s win in Pennsylvania. Trump’s initial Tweet announced the event at the Four Seasons… as in the hotel. Whether this was intentional, miscommunication or typo, it provided plenty of fertilizer for endless memes and late-night hosts. And the fact that it was located between a sex shop and a crematorium only added to the bizarro appropriateness of it all.
G is for GASLIGHTING
While the term has been around for decades, Trump turned gaslighting into an art form, a trending hashtag and a governing tactic. Precipitated by his own insecurity and instability, DJT spent four years driving us crazy with his misdirection, hyperbole and flat-out lies. • Other Gs: golf, “good people on both sides”
H is for HYPOCRITE
The examples of Trump’s hypocrisy could make a whole other alphabet. A is for acting shocked when the Capitol is stormed by his followers, moments after he gave them their marching orders. B is for berating a POW for getting captured, though he faked bone spurs to avoid the draft. C is for courting the religious right, while being a serial cheater and documented misogynist. Shall I go on?
I is for IMPEACHMENT
The only repeat from the last list — once for each impeachment! As Trump is the only US president to be impeached twice, there’s finally something he’s actually the best at. • Additional Is: immature, incompetent, instigator, ICE
J is for JOB APPROVAL
I spoke too soon — Trump’s also the best at sucking at his job. He has the distinction of being the only president whose job approval rating never reached 50%. He also holds the record for the lowest average approval rating (41%), and the lowest approval of any first term president (29%). By comparison, Nixon’s approval reached 66%; his average, 49%.
K is for KIM JONG-UN
Bad hair besties? Nuclear frenemies? Distant dictatorial cousins? Whatever the case, the relationship between the Supreme Leader of North Korea and our own dipshit despot has been a long, strange, terrifying ride. • Backup Ks: Kushner, Kavanaugh, Karen
L is for LOOKING AT THE SUN
Kids learn early on not to stare directly into the sun. This was especially true leading up to the solar eclipse of 2017. Yet once again our pompous POTUS set a poor example for America’s youth by looking directly at the eclipse, all while his aids shouted, “don’t look!” Maybe this is how he gets that natural orange glow?
M is for MUSLIM BAN
One of Trump’s first actions in office was Executive Order 13769, a travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries. The official title was “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Its real title should have been “Dog Whistle to My Xenophobic Base That I’m Gonna’ Keep Out the Brown Jesus-Haters.” • More Ms: Mar-a-Lago, #MeToo
N is for NAME-CALLING
Past presidents have had nicknames for their staff, colleagues or the press. But no POTUS has used so much mockery and insult to label those that dare oppose him. And Trump’s immaturity wasn’t limited to deriding individuals, as he maligned entire industries, associations and countries.
A short list: China Virus / Kung Flu (Coronavirus), Crazy Nancy (Pelosi), Crooked Hillary (Clinton), Cryin’ Chuck (Schumer), fake news (anything he disagrees with or doesn’t like), Jeff Bozo (Bezos), lamestream media (mainstream media outlets), loser (John McCain), low IQ (Maxine Waters), monster (Kamala Harris), Morning Psycho (Joe Scarborough), Mr. Magoo (Jeff Sessions), overrated (Meryl Streep), Pocahontas (Elizabeth Warren), rigged (2020 election), shithole countries (Haiti, El Salvador, African nations), Sleepy Joe (Biden), son of a bitch (NFL national anthem protesters), Sloppy Steve (Bannon), that dog (Omarosa), witch hunt (first impeachment trial). And while not technically name-calling, Trump’s mocking of a disabled reporter still ranks as a horrific low point in a term of many, many lows.
Want to see the full list? Oh look, ANOTHER WHOLE WIKIPEDIA PAGE dedicated to something vile Trump did or said.
O is for OANN
One America News Network: where Trump turns when even Fox News stops buying his bullshit.
P is for PANDEMIC
The missteps, denials and scapegoating by Trump as it relates to COVID-19 could fill a library. Yet his true legacy will be the Americans filling hospitals and cemeteries: which, as of this writing, is 23,813,966 and 395,882, respectively. • Supplementary Ps: Puerto Rico/paper towels, Paris Agreement, Proud Boys, Parler
Q is for QANON
Birthed in the deepest bowels of the internet, the QAnon conspiracy theory became a movement that shat into the mainstream.
What’s the theory? Something to do with Satan-worshipping or pedophile pizza or some such nonsense. QAnon adherents herald Trump as their savior and were primary instigators of the attack on the Capitol building. Like Trump, QAnon has been banned from all manner of online outlets; also like their savior, they have no intention of going away quietly.
R is for RANDY RAINBOW
The only bright spot on this list, Randy Rainbow’s satirical/musical/genius videos were often the only bright spot during Trump’s presidency. Skyrocketing to YouTube fame during the 2016 presidential campaign, Rainbow (his real name) used showtunes, sass and a bit of lipstick to heal our beleaguered souls again and again. Each time Trump did something unimaginable, the silver lining was the Randy video sure to follow. So yeah, there are a LOT of videos.
Randy’s Most Colorful Hits: BRAGGADOCIOUS! • COVFEFE: THE BROADWAY MEDLEY • BEFORE HE TWEETS • DESPERATE CHEETO • A VERY STABLE GENIUS • JUST BE BEST! • CRUELLA DEVOS • CHEETO CHRIST STUPID-CZAR • A SPOONFUL OF CLOROX • SEDITION! • SEASONS OF TRUMP
S is for SEDITION
When I started brainstorming for this, S was going to be for SPACE FORCE —Trump’s spacey new branch of the military. As he continued to hold rallies during the pandemic, I then considered SUPERSPREADER. When Trump began contesting the 2020 election results, my choice switched to STOP THE COUNT.
While those may have been great fodder for witty commentary, after the events of January 6, I settled on SEDITION.
Notwithstanding the aforementioned Randy Rainbow video, there’s nothing witty about sedition. I found no pleasure in having yet another awful discussion with my child about something Trump had said or done. Like much of the country, my son was sad, angry and scared. While Trump may not have succeeded in rallying his minions to overthrow the government, the damage done may be irreparable.
T is for TEAR GAS
During the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, police and National Guard troops used tear gas and other riot control measures to force away peaceful protestors around Lafayette Square in DC. They created a path for Trump to walk from the White House to St. John’s Church, where he held aloft a Bible to pose for photos. Soon afterwards, an eight-foot black fence was constructed, in effect creating a several block bunker around the president.
The 5-minute event was widely criticized not only for violating the first amendment rights of the protestors, but also for its hubris and hypocrisy. It was denounced by the DC mayor, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and the Prime Minister of Australia, among many others.
“He did not seek to unify the country, but rather used our symbols and our sacred space as a way to reinforce a message that is antithetical to everything that the person of Jesus represents.” – Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde
U is for UNSTABLE
“Very stable genius,” my ass. • Further Us: unfit, unqualified, unrepentant, Ukraine
V is for VOTER FRAUD
I’m so sick of hearing this phrase and its unwarranted, unproven, untrue claims. Claims made loudest by Trump. Claims that in 2016 were laughable, given his collusion with Russia to tamper with that election. Claims that in 2020 were disastrous, igniting a crowd of his disciples to storm the US Capitol building, resulting in violence, destroyed property and death. The only fraud is you, Donnie. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
W is for WHITE NATIONALISTS
Like the KKK, but without the matching outfits. From Charlottesville to campaign rallies to terrorizing the Capitol, white nationalists have repeatedly been given the spotlight and the go-ahead by Trump to wreak racist havoc on our already deeply damaged nation.
X is for KEYSTONE XL
Trump’s disregard for the environment (and disbelief in climate change) can best be characterized by his attempt to construct the Keystone XL pipeline. In 2015, a global movement successfully halted the plan, devised to pump some of Canada’s most dangerous oil products over 1,200 miles of U.S. land and indigenous territories. As part of Trump’s agenda to undo everything achieved by Obama, he signed a presidential memorandum to revive the pipeline during his first week in office. The project has since gone back and forth between courts, commissions and state agencies so often that it’s been nicknamed the “zombie pipeline.”
Y is for YOU’RE FIRED!
Long before the presidency was a twinkle in Trump’s eye, he was famous for his oft-repeated, reality show catchphrase, “You’re fired.” On The Apprentice, aspiring entrepreneurs and pseudo-celebrities were pitted against one another to garner Trump’s favor. During his four years in office, it was much of the same.
A sampling of those who crossed The Donald one too many times: Paul Manafort (campaign chair); Sally Yates (Atty General); Michael Flynn (Natl Security Advisor); James Comey (FBI dir); Reince Priebus (Chief of Staff); Anthony Scaramucci (Communications Dir); Steve Bannon (Chief Strategist); Tom Price (Secretary of HHS); Andrew McCabe (FBI dir); Rex Tillerson (Secretary of State); Jeff Sessions (Atty General); Jim Mattis (Secretary of Defense); Ryan Zinke (Secretary of the Interior); John Bolton (Natl Security Advisor); Mick Mulvaney (Chief of Staff); Brad Pascale (campaign manager); Mark Esper (Secretary of Defense); Chris Krebs (Director of Cybersecurity); William Barr (Atty General); and finally, Omarosa Manigault Newman, who holds the distinction of having been fired by Trump four times — three on The Apprentice (in 2004, 2008 and 2013) and once as Director of Communications for the Office of Public Relations in 2017.
Following the January 6 attack on the Capitol, an ongoing parade of government officials resigned. However, the first (only?) to be fired was Gabriel Noronha, a State Department appointee. He condemned the riot in a Tweet, calling Trump unfit for office, and was summarily sacked. Noronha is also the only State Department official to publicly blame Trump.
That’s not the full list, obvi. Here’s ONE FINAL WIKIPEDIA PAGE of all the folks Trump has canned or driven away. Warning, it’s long AF.
Z is for ZERO TOLERANCE
It’s hard to decide which of Trump’s actions, words or policies is the most inhumane, given the sheer volume from which to choose. But to finish up this abysmal alphabet, I’d have to go with his zero tolerance immigration policy.
Protecting the US from foreigners has been a talking yelling point from the beginning of Trump’s presidential bid. He promised to build a wall along our southern border… and make Mexico pay for it. He referred to Mexican immigrants as drug dealers, criminals and rapists. He denied entry to asylum seekers. He attempted to phase out DACA.
And perhaps most heinously, he instituted a zero tolerance program to separate families as a means of deterring immigrants. Once separated, children were reclassified as “unaccompanied” and put in shelters (the infamous “kids in cages”) with no system in place to reunite them with their parents.
The HHS initially reported that less than 3,000 children had been separated from their parents. But in January 2019, a new investigation revealed that number was several thousand higher.
As of December 2020, 628 migrant children have still not been reunited with their parents.
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I said it in my first ABCs of Trump, but it bears repeating that I still weep for our children’s futures. Even after he leaves office, the effects of Trump’s disregard for the truth and basic humanity will leave an orange stain on our country not soon removed.
Nevertheless, I hope this list mixed in some laughter in with your tears. And that our kids get back to school (and some normalcy) soon so they can learn an entirely new vocabulary.
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Did I forget any? Many were omitted for my own time and sanity, but let me know your picks in the comments!