A Trump Lexicon, Seventh Edition


The Donald Acting Out (David Becker/Getty Images)

The Donald Acting Out (David Becker/Getty Images)

Our president uses language in unusual ways, a mix of babble, Orwell’s NewSpeak and nonsense. His recent bad weeks have once again spawned a stream of new and unusual terms. Newer terms and phrases are towards the top. It’s tempting to wait and see what new phrases appear as the pandemic proceeds, but WC will go with the half-dozen new ones here. There follows the Seventh Edition of the Trump Lexicon.1

Word or Phrase Definition
Obamagate See, It’s certainly a very serious situation, infra
It wasn’t Donna Reed, I can tell you that. Women reporters who ask hard question. Especially women reporters of color, who refuse to act like it is 1959. Never mind that Donna Reed was herself an Vietnam anti-war activist known as a ‘troublemaker’ in Hollywood.
That’s enough You’re asking questions that are hard and I don’t have a slick response.
It’s certainly a very serious situation I’m working hard to distract you from my failures.
Presidential harassment Reporting what the President has said or – gasp – mocking the President. Not to be confused with harassment by the President.
It’s very sad Lip-smacking, Trumpian glee, as in, “Robert Kraft got caught with hookers and I didn’t.”
Some people say See “Honestly,” infra
National emergency Not an emergency at all; a patently racist appeal to reactionary voters.
Mark my words See “Honestly,” infra
Stable genius “I’m a poster child for the Dunning-Kruger Effect.”
Like, really smart See “Stable genius,” supra
Classy Completely tasteless. Gold-plated bathroom faucets.
Moron Someone who doesn’t agree with Trump’s idea of conservative views; includes the writers of Modern Family.
Make Great As in, “Make America Great Again.” Apparently, destroy all decent moral and political values; to utterly destroy.
Hamberder See “Covefe,” infra
Great Embarrassing and pointless
Someone said ‘I just made this up, but don’t have the guts to admit it.”
A lot of people suggest See “Someone said.”
Stupid A standard response to a fact-based argument by someone Trump disagrees with, when he doesn’t have any evidence to support his disagreement.
Voter fraud An election outcome unfavorable to Trump or, more generally, the GOP. Not to be confused with failing to count all the ballots, gerrymandering, striking qualified voters from the rolls, moving or closing polling places or screaming at African-Americans trying to vote.
Nasty, stupid person Any African-American journalist asking Trump a difficult question, especially a woman. Right out of the Jim Crow Playbook.
Rude, terrible person Any journalist asking the President difficult or embarrassing questions, or otherwise using the First Amendment. CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Fake news Credible, authoritative reporting of facts that President Trump doesn’t like, or doesn’t want reported, or both. More generally, factual news.
I’ve never met him A Trump associate tainted by scandal, who Trump knows very well. Most recently, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. Also Russian Premier Vladimir Putin.
Sad Nominal expression of fake empathy, usually stated after an ad hominem fallacy or an insult aimed at someone the President dislikes. Invites the reader to agree with the President’s attack. An insult.
He is a good guy He is a bad guy, who will do what the President wants, even if it is illegal, and keep quiet about it. Mike Flynn. At least keep quiet until the guy cops a plea. Again, Mike Flynn.
Drain the swamp Appoint cronies, favored billionaire buddies and alt-right loonies to positions of power; give major donors powerful positions; i.e., deepen the swamp.
Loser Someone who the President does not like, usually because they have spoken truth to power; the opposite of “winner,” which means Donald Trump.
Honestly I’m lying.
Smart Dumber than a box of rocks. As in Mr. Trump claiming, “I’m, like, a really smart person.”
Huge Not very big at all. As in, “The crowds at my inauguration were huge.” Also a very good book by Garry Trudeau.
Believe me The preceding statement is wholly unsupported by evidence, reason or fact, as in “I was always against going into Iraq, believe me.”
The best people Continuous turnover in staff and senior positions; twenty-three indictments; five pleas to felonies. In the first year and a half of the Trump Administration.
Rigged witch hunt Used to describe any investigation of Trump’s activities, especially an investigation getting uncomfortably close to the truth despite Trump’s efforts to make it stop, bury it or discredit it.
An enemy of the people Used by Trump in describing the media and his critics. Generally, inconvenient clauses of the U.S. Constitution that limit his authority, or confer rights on others.
An extremely credible source An extremely credulous president; usually Fox News, Brietbart, Alex Jones or some random KKK member.
Covefe Yes, I am too lazy to proofread.
A total sham! (Always used with an exclamation point.) A fact or group of facts carrying high risk for Trump that he is attempting to discredit.

This lexicon remains a work in progress. There will be more updates.

WC is no fan of George Will (unless Will is writing about baseball). His skill at hiding unspoken assumptions behind clever phrasing is among the many afflictions of the remains of the Republican Party. But Will nailed it with a simple phrase that pretty accurately describes our Commander-in-Chief: “Unleavened by intellect; untethered by principle.” As this lexicon demonstrates.

UPDATED May 29, 2020
UPDATED February 26, 2019
UPDATED: December 7, for post-Cohen guilty plea.
UPDATED: November 14, for new mid-term election utterances.
UPDATED: December 16, to add “Honestly” and “The best people.”
UPDATED: December 18, to add “Believe me”
UPDATED: July 18 to add new phrases and for subsequent developments.


  1. WC has received complaints that the lexicon is getting long and unwieldy, and taking too long to load. Sorry; can’t be helped. Direct your complaints to The Donald. 

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