Tag Archives: Trump’s rhetoric


Why Trump Invoked ‘Civil War’

“Invoking civil war — even indirectly — was once a third rail of modern American presidential rhetoric. Though Mr. Trump in the past has openly toyed with illiberal notions (ignoring term limits, not accepting election results should he lose), his casual suggestion that his ouster might lead to bloodshed felt like uncharted territory. … It doesn’t matter that we’re not on the brink of a civil war; the threat as outlined by right-wing media is intended to inspire fear in liberals and conservatives alike. For conservatives, it’s the notion that Democrats will stop at nothing to get rid of Mr. Trump and will marshal the forces of the “deep state” to right the wrongs of the 2016 election. For liberals, it is a warning: Don’t push churchgoing, gun-loving conservatives too far, or there’ll be dangerous consequences.”

Charlie Warzel


Coulter Hated Trump’s SOTU

“This was the lamest, sappiest, most intentionally tear-jerking SOTU ever. Please fire your speechwriter.”

— Ann Coulter, who was once President Trump’s biggest cheerleader among conservative pundits, tore into his State of the Union address after the president tried unconvincingly to act like a unifying president.


Santorum: Trump’s SOTU Speech the Worst Ever

“This was probably the worst delivered speech I’ve heard Donald Trump give. He ran over his lines, he mixed up, he didn’t deliver his punch lines, he would deliver a line and go to the next issue, and I don’t think he even realized he was moving on to the next issue.”

— Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), discussing President Trump’s State of the Union address on CNN.


Trump’s Address a Stephen Miller Production

“The 33-year-old White House speechwriter has a hand in virtually everything the president reads from a teleprompter. But as one of the most strident immigration hawks in the West Wing, Miller has been especially influential over the past two years in shaping the way Trump talks about his signature issue. Tuesday night was reportedly no exception. … While it’s impossible to say just how much of the address he wrote, all of the tics and tropes of Millerian rhetoric were on display. The scary immigrants (‘vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs’). The gory anecdotes (a veteran ‘beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien’). The decidedly un-Trumpian flourishes (‘a crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul.’)”

McKay Coppins


Why Trump’s Rallies Are Worrisome

“Much of the coverage of these events tends to be theatre criticism, or news stories about a single inflammatory line or two, rating Trump’s performance or puzzling over the appeal to his followers. But what the President of the United States is actually saying is extraordinary, regardless of whether the television cameras are carrying it live. It’s not just the whoppers or the particular outrage riffs that do get covered, either. It’s the hate, and the sense of actual menace that the President is trying to convey to his supporters. Democrats aren’t just wrong in the manner of traditional partisan differences; they are scary, bad, evil, radical, dangerous. Trump and Trump alone stands between his audiences and disaster.”

Susan Glasser


Trump Amps Up Attacks on Democratic Party

“The Democrats have become too extreme, and they’ve become, frankly, too dangerous to govern. They’ve gone wacko. The only reason to vote Democrat is if you are tired of winning.”

— President Trump, quoted by the Omaha World Herald.


Trump Tongue-Tied by Tragedy

“One of the difficult but primary duties of the modern presidency is to speak for the nation in times of tragedy. A space shuttle explodes. An elementary school is attacked. The twin towers come down in a heap of ash and twisted steel. It falls to the president to express something of the nation’s soul — grief for the lost, sympathy for the suffering, moral clarity in the midst of confusion, confidence in the unknowable purposes of God. … Not every president does this equally well. But none have been incapable. Until Donald Trump.”

Michael Gerson


McCain Has Not Forgotten Trump Slights

“There is nothing Trump can do any more that will get to McCain. Battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, the maverick was willing to vote ‘no’ on the ‘skinny repeal’ amendment so that other GOP colleagues who were also opposed to the measure could vote ‘yes’ to save face with the conservative base. To this day, Trump has never apologized for saying that the former fighter pilot was not a war hero because he got captured in Vietnam. It gets less attention, but the president also besmirched the Arizona senator’s character by repeatedly accusing him of not taking care of other veterans. McCain has never forgotten.”

James Hohmann


Trump’s GOP Condones Violence Against Reporters

“Of course not. It’s not appropriate behavior. Unless the reporter deserved it.”

— Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), quoted by the AP, when asked if assaulting a reporter is appropriate behavior, following U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte’s (R-MT) assault on a reporter on the eve of a special election in Montana.


Trump’s Congress Address Drew Smaller Audience than Obama’s

52.4 million to 48 million

Hollywood Reporter: “The event predictably topped the night’s few other telecasts, grossing just more than 48 million viewers on 11 networks airing coverage between 9 and 10:15 p.m. ET. On par with early metered market stats, a cumulative 27.8 overnight rating among households, it’s still off from President Barack Obama’s first joint sessions meeting — or even his first State of the Union.”