President Donald Trump loves to talk about himself, his business, and his administration in superlatives, even if the facts don’t support his boast. For months after the election, for example, he touted his win as the biggest electoral landslide in history, when it clearly wasn’t. Same with the size of the crowd at his inauguration.
Just this week, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), President Trump told the fawning fans in attendance that he accomplished more during his first year in office than any president ever, something demonstrably false.
But there’s one skill this president just might be the best at, or at least the most prolific: bestowing nicknames. Most of the time he’s quite proud of the names he comes up with for both friends and foes alike, and he hasn’t been shy about using them publicly.
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So we were surprised to learn that he has a particularly derogatory nickname for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one that he only uses in private.
Lucky for us, the Washington Post has learned what that nickname is. In a story published late Wednesday about how special counsel Robert Mueller has been probing President Trump’s past efforts to push AG Sessions out, Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey and Rosalind S. Helderman revealed this juicy tidbit:
Behind the scenes, Trump has derisively referred to Sessions as “Mr. Magoo,” a cartoon character who is elderly, myopic and bumbling, according to people with whom he has spoken. Trump has told associates that he has hired the best lawyers for his entire life, but is stuck with Sessions, who is not defending him and is not sufficiently loyal.
This penchant for giving people nicknames, often against their will, isn’t new for Donald Trump. Supporters say he’s being doing it for years. But the practice took center stage during the campaign, when christening his opponents with demeaning monikers formed the foundation of his rhetorical attacks on them.
From ‘Low Energy Jeb’ for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, to ‘Lying Ted’ for Texas Senator Ted Cruz, to ‘Little Marco’ for Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Trump used each nickname to great affect on his fellow Republicans during the primary. He also took time to baptize Democratic candidates Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with their own nicknames, calling them ‘Crazy Bernie’ and ‘Crooked Hillary,’ respectively.
Those who hoped the petty playground name calling would end once Trump found himself wrapped in the august trappings of the presidency were quickly disappointed. He derisively named Senator Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ for claiming fractional Native American ancestry in the past, and then used the nickname at a solemn White House ceremony honoring Navajo veterans of World War II. He even referred to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un as ‘Little Rocket Man’ from the floor of the United Nations.
Receiving a nickname is often the kiss of death from this President, a harbinger that proceeds one’s unceremonious exit from the stage. If history is any guide, then Sessions should be packing up his office soon.