I've spent half a century writing for radio and print (mostly print). I hope to still be tapping the keys as I take my last breath.
Trump A to Z
The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, hereinafter referred to as The Former President (TFP), once said “I know words. I have the best words.”
As a professional writer for more than 50 years, I also know words and have written several articles here about words for each letter of the alphabet. Those previous offerings have featured random words; this time out they are themed around TFP and they are not intended to praise him.
A is for . . . agnotology. TFP would frequently refer to everybody not him as that body part hidden between the butt cheeks, but we can do better than that. Abrasive, absurd, and abysmal come to mind. But here comes "agnotology," for which TFP would be a prime exhibit under the microscope. Agnotology is the study of ignorance about provable things for which doubt has been spread by misinformation.
B is for . . . bankruptcy. Our subject has developed an extraordinary skill at taking $413 million from his father, according to the New York Times, and turning it into six bankruptcies.
C is for . . . contumely. Rude or insulting language.
D is for . . . dog-whistle politics. TFP is skilled at sending disguised messages to white supremacists that he is on their side.
E is for . . . epizeuxis. The forceful repetition of a word or phrase is a favourite of TFP's rally pronouncements. “The election was stolen.” No it wasn't.
F is for . . . falsiloquence. We will set aside TFP's favourite off-camera F-word when dealing with his staff and go for something more eloquent. Falsiloquence is the use of deceitful and lying speech. “I won the 2020 election in a landslide.” “We had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches.” “I am a very stable genius.” Plus 30,570 other falsehoods during a four-year presidency.
G is for . . . goldbricker. The word describes a person who avoids doing any real work. Under the headline TFP “Has the Work Ethic of a Bored, Lazy Child” Newsweek noted “reports show him disengaged from the daily business of governing, uninterested in policy details and strikingly, disturbingly incurious about the enormous federal apparatus he now commands.”
H is for . . . hooplehead. The mid-2000s TV show Deadwood had a foul-mouthed character called Al Swearengen who called everyone he didn't like a “hooplehead.” In using the insult, Swearengen resurrected Major Hoople, a character in the comic strip Our Boarding House that first appeared in 1921. Hoople was a boastful ignoramus; the sort of person who might have suggested drinking bleach to get rid of COVID-19.
I is for . . . insulting. Crooked Hillary Clinton, Lying Ted Cruz, Failing New York Times. The man made a black art out of dishing out insults to others that could just as easily be applied to himself.
J is for . . . jiggery-pokery. He claims a golf handicap of 2.8, which puts him in the company of the world's best senior professional players. How does he do it? A Sports Illustrated columnist has played golf with TFP and says “He cheats because that’s how he plays golf . . . if you’re playing golf with him, he’s going to cheat.”
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K is for . . . kakistocracy. Dictionary.com says a kakistocracy is “government by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state.” During TFP's time in office, 69 senior administration officials were fired or resigned. Of those who were fired, TFP universally described them as lightweights and incompetents. This prompted a cheeky journalist to ask: “Sir, why do you keep hiring unqualified people?” No reply was forthcoming.
L is for . . . loser. A favourite epithet hurled at staff and political opponents. We have former Defense Secretary Mark Esper to thank for revealing that TFP screamed at an Oval Office briefing that “You're all effing losers,” and nobody had the backbone to say “It takes one to know one.”
M is for . . . misosophy. A misosophist is someone who hates wisdom and knowledge. It's the sort of condition that would cause a former President of the United States to frequently ask his national security staff if China had developed a hurricane gun to trigger violent Atlantic Ocean storms.
N is for . . . nativism. "Great replacement theory" is a bunkum notion that “nonwhite individuals are being brought into the United States and other Western countries to 'replace' white voters to achieve a political agenda” (National Public Radio). Nativism counters this by proposing immigration bans. Political scientist Cas Mudde says nativism is at the core of TFP's ideology (The Atlantic).
O is for . . . of thimbleriggers and joculators. Anywhere that people gathered—fairgrounds, markets, pubs—these characters would start up gambling games and “had some way of diverting a mug from his money by less than honest means” (worldwidewords.org). Sort of like enrolling in Trump University.
P is for . . . prevarication. Also, in Cockney rhyming slang, “pork pie” meaning “lie,” such as when TFP sent his press secretary out to tell the media “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.”
Q is for . . . quaquaversal. “Going off in all directions from the center” (wiktionary.org); can be used to describe a rambling speech.
R is for . . . rebarbative. This word describes someone who is repellent, unattractive, irritating, and objectionable. Can't think who that might apply to.
S is for . . . snollygoster. We have to reach back into the 19th century to find this word; it was used to describe a person with no principles. In 2003, Webster dumped the word from its dictionaries, but it was resurrected in 2017; was it a coincidence that it was the year TFP was inaugurated?
T is for . . . thrasonical. “There's nobody bigger or better than I am at the military.” “I know more about ISIS than the generals.” “I know more about courts than any human being.” “I'm the king of banking.” Blah, blah, blah. Thrasonical means boastful.
U is for . . . unfaithful. Porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy centrefold Karen McDougal claim to have had affairs with TFP while he was married. Summer Zevos, Mindy McGillivray, Jessica Leeds, Kristin Anderson, and Natasha Stoynoff are just a few of the women who accuse TFP of groping and sexually assaulting them.
V is for . . . verbigeration. Actor John Lithgow chose this word as his favourite in 2015; it means using words and phrases that are meaningless. Covfefe anyone?
W is for . . . whifflers. No list of this sort is complete without a visit from the Bard. In Henry V, Part One he wrote:
The deep-mouth’d Sea,
Which like a mighty Whiffler ’fore the King,
Seems to prepare his way.
Whifflers in Shakespeare's day were men armed with swords and clubs whose job was to clear a path through the rabble for the king. In contemporary usage, police used flash/bangs, tear gas, and night sticks to move protesters out of the way so TFP could hold a bible upside down outside a church in Washington's Lafayette Park. Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper tells us in his memoir that TFP earlier asked “Can't you just shoot them?”
X is for . . . xenophobia. Thanks to the Cambridge English Dictionary we know that xenophobia is the “extreme dislike or fear of foreigners, their customs, their religions, etc.” By his own words you shall know TFP:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
“Laziness is a trait in blacks.”
"...a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
Y is for . . . yucky. TFP pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris Climate Accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the Iran nuclear deal. This was all part of his America First policy that U.S. allies called, in the discreet and carefully modulated words of the diplomatic community, “yucky.”
Z is for . . . zero. This is an unbiased and totally objective score out of ten awarded to TFP for his positive achievements while in office.
- TFP is the only U.S. President to be impeached twice.
- TFP lost the popular vote in both presidential elections he ran in.
- Despite his clearly demonstrated failures and character flaws, 71 percent of Republicans say TFP should still be the party's leader.
- “Trump Could Be Forced to Testify on Sexual-Harassment Allegations — And if He Lies He Could Be Impeached.” Hayley Peterson, businessinsider.org, December 5, 2017.
- “What Is a Nativist?” Uri Friedman, The Atlantic, April 11, 2017.
- “Why Donald Trump's Companies Went Bankrupt.” Tom Murse, thoughtco.com, December 31, 2020.
- “Decades of Trump’s Inheritance Fail to Explain How He’s Funding Mysterious Cash Purchases.” Max de Haldevang, Quartz, October 2, 2018.
- “President Trump Has the Work Ethic of a Bored, Lazy Child.” Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek, July 19, 2017.
- “Here’s a List of Everyone Who Has Left the Trump Administration.” Johanna Silver, nowthisnews.com, December 12, 2019.
- “Trump Kept Asking if China Was Shooting Us With a ‘Hurricane Gun.’ ” Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley, Rolling Stone, May 10, 2022.
- World Wide Words.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Rupert Taylor