You’d think CNN’s Chris Cillizza would shy away from having public arguments with people much smarter than him after Soledad O’Brien ended his damn life; you’d be wrong.
In one of the absolute worst subplots from today’s Samantha Bee/Ivanka Trump saga, comedian Kathy Griffin and Cillizza, who once told me he makes eight digits a year, got into a Twitter fight over Samantha Bee’s comment. Well, it was less a fight and more of a slaughter:
Cillizza’s great moral stance about name-calling and insults, however, doesn’t exactly jive with this post he wrote all the way back in April 2018—a lifetime ago, really—where he called Donald Trump the “Michael Jordan of political nicknames.” Here, he seems perfectly cool with name-calling:
We are living in a golden age of political nicknames.
President Donald Trump is the Michael Jordan of name-calling, seemingly upping the ante of what’s possible in the nickname sphere with each passing week.
On Tuesday morning, Trump added another — “Cheatin’ Obama”— in reference to his immediate predecessor in the White House. It’s not clear what exactly where Obama was “cheatin’,” but it doesn’t matter! It’s a nickname! It doesn’t have to make sense!
What are some of these incredible insults?
16. “Jeff Flakey”: I mean, all Trump did was add a “y” to the end of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s name. Pretty low on creativity points. Also, I bet Flake never heard his last name made fun of like this before Trump did it.
15. “Dicky Durbin”: On the plus side, adding that “y” to the Illinois senator’s first name has the effect of infantalizing him, which was clearly Trump’s goal. On the other, simply adding a “y” to a guy’s first name feels like a bit of a missed opportunity when said guy’s name is “Dick Durbin.”
7. “Crooked Hillary”: This was solid, for sure. For lots of voters, it summed up what they didn’t like about Clinton: The perception that she didn’t think the rules applied to her. But, I grade this nickname down a bit because there were SO many options available for Trump when it came to Clinton that “Crooked” feels only so-so. Couldn’t he have thrown some alliteration in there?
1. “Little Rocket Man”: Put aside the potential for nuclear annihilation inherent in taunting the unstable dictator of a rogue regime and it’s just hard to beat this one. Insulting and fitting all in one.
As my GMG colleague David Roth wrote last month, all of these nicknames are clearly garbage. If you threw these out on an elementary school playground, you’d get your ass kicked by a bunch of third-graders, aka the big kids. And you’d deserve it.
Here’s one of Cillizza’s favorites, though (emphasis mine):
4. “Pocahontas”: Offensive? Absolutely. Hard to forget? Also yes. Trump’s nickname for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, has its genesis in her claim that she had Native American heritage — 1/32nd to be exact. The claim became an issue in Warren’s 2012 Senate campaign, but she still easily beat incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown. If Warren runs in 2020 — and she is certainly thinking about it — get ready to hear “Pocahontas” a whole lot more.
Incredible. I particularly love how you can forgive the racism because it’s memorable. That’s how you know it’s a really good nickname.
The take that Stupid Asshole Chris is doing here—that people should be nice to the Trumps of all people just for the sake of being nice—is a bad one. This family’s racist patriarch is quite literally the most powerful person in the world, and he’s wielding that power to rip apart families and put his boot on the necks of millions of people all over the country, with his family financially benefitting from his position. If there’s anyone we should absolutely not be nice to for the sake of it, it is the members of the shittiest family in the world.
As his terrible listicle from less than two months ago shows, “the debate over how we should treat over” doesn’t appear to be something that even Cillizza himself wants to have. If we did, we’d have to talk about what Trump’s government has done to people. And really, what fun is that?