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Trump “Doing” Language

John McWhertor has a careful review of Trump’s language in The Atlantic. What does the clearly unfiltered, unedited stream of consciousness?

Being careful, the article pulls some punches. The great covfefe incident (USA Today review, one year after that deleted tweet) doesn’t even get a mention. The fact communication is deteriorating at the agency level should also be covered in another article.

This is the ignored red squiggly presidency. Nothing that should be flagged by our institutions before they happen seems to ever get corrected before it happens. Of course, there is survivorship bias here: who knows what is getting edited?

…Claims that he is exhibiting signs of dementia are, in my view, premature and unnecessary. A more economical analysis is that Trump actually intends the words he uses, in all of their inadequacy.

What moves Trump is the idea that important people like him, and thus that their relationship is “good”—not that their relationship might be productive, that is to say, might yield something of value for the country. Trump is moved more by power itself than what power can accomplish, or what underlies it, and so comprehensive doesn’t come to him. Similarly, to Trump, to “call” something is about him calling the shots or blowing a whistle; a declaration, usually quieter and effected via consensus, has less appeal. Yet Trump senses, on some level, that the adjectives he intends are somewhat inept in the presidential context. His solution: to dress them up with very, substituting rhetorical volume for substance.

Published inPolitics

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