21
Nov
16

The Not So Great Communicator

Donald Trump’s lack of eloquence and thin vocabulary have been well documented. His off the cuff speaking style combined with his minimal command of the English language, often create a word salad that is a nightmare for a journalist to quote; and it leaves those consuming it with the difficult task of attempting to find the ACTUAL meaning behind his utterances. In my many conversations with his supporters, I have often quoted some of the outrageous things he has said, only to receive a response of, or similar to, “well, that’s not what he meant,” or “it was a poor choice of words.” I have tried to find out exactly how these individuals discovered Trump’s “true meanings” behind his statements, but no one has revealed this magic to me, and it is clear that Trump’s inability to properly articulate his thoughts and positions has less to do with a poor choice of words and much more with just not having that many choices.

donald-trump-shrugTrump seems to only have access to a handful of adjectives. He has one small pile of words for good things, and one pile for the bad. His go-to bad words are often “terrible” or “awful.” Sometimes, he keeps it REALLY simple and just uses words like, “bad” or “sad.” His good words are loaded with hyperbolic exaggeration – words such as “huge” and “amazing” are often thrown around for anything but. On Sunday, he stated that “incredible meetings” would be bringing “incredible people” to the government. It reads like it was uttered by a person still grappling with English as a second language.

The definition of incredible is: impossible or extremely difficult to believe. Is it possible that Donald Trump is in disbelief with how well his meetings went? Did he have difficulty believing that people like Mitt Romney and Rick Perry actually exist? Is there no one on Trump’s transition team who can slip him a few more positive adjectives that he could use to impart a little nuance and recognition of the seriousness of the task he is presently undertaking? Is there no one on Trump’s transition team who can whisper in Trump’s ear that the word “incredible” is less suited for describing a routine meeting and more for a one-handed catch while falling out of bounds in a football game or better yet, a firefighter racing into a burning building to save the life of an infant child?

Ronald Reagan was known as “the great communicator.” Donald Trump is a verbal weakling who is about to take a job where every single one of his poorly chosen and limited words will be parsed and interpreted by people, governments and markets all over the world. Perhaps the most important hires Donald Trump will make during this transition, will be his speech writers. They will have the monstrous task of polishing this turd every single day, all the while knowing that they could prepare the perfect script, but the ego of the performer could rip it to pieces in front of the entire world. I can foresee many scenarios where Donald Trump’s lack of eloquence will be front and center. Some are amusing. Some are embarrassing. Some are downright terrifying.

While I’m certain Trump’s meetings this past weekend were far from, “incredible,” I have no issue using that word to describe his rise to power and the level of stupidity, hubris and insecurity we saw from him in the first week of his transition. It is common for the White House to employ foreign language interpreters. Perhaps for this president, they should consider one for English.

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1 Response to “The Not So Great Communicator”


  1. November 21, 2016 at 4:50 PM

    Well said. It speaks to a larger phenomena in American discourse in my opinion. I read the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers over the last week in order to contextualize Trumpism with the past and was struck by how – while so much of the argument has remained the same – the level of intellectual engagement has been so degraded. I don’t know how that conversation can be elevated, but I believe it’s worthy of consideration.


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