Deconstructing Trump-speak
“Trump’s trademark talk is full of rambling, aside-filled bursts of simple but definitive words, laden with self-congratulatory bravado and claims that have fact-checkers working overtime,” AP’s Matt Sedensky writes after asking linguists about Trump’s rhetorical signatures:
• Kathleen Hall Jamieson: “The public speech of the president in the past has been crafted speech, it has been considered speech. Presidents prepared before speeches, presidents prepared before press conferences, presidents had stock answers ready to give.”
• “Word choice is typically simple — to Trump, things are terrible or incredible, best or worst. Asides are frequent. And repetition is rampant: When Trump wants to get a point across, he makes it again and again.”
• “Trump has suggested there’s method to his word choice … that the simple terms he often opts for can be more effective than the flowery eloquence listeners may be used to from presidents. ‘I went to an Ivy League school. I’m very highly educated. I know words; I have the best words,’ he said during the campaign.”
• Historian Kristen Kobes Du Mez of Calvin College: “I don’t know that any president has ever used ‘super-duper’ in his rhetoric before.”
The Trump Doctrine
Yahoo’s Olivier Knox, surveying a wide range of diplomats in Washington, finds that Trump’s “unpredictable approach to world affairs [has] unsettled rivals, but also sometimes unnerves even close allies who wonder if anyone can speak with authority for the Twitter-reliant commander in chief.”
“They also noted that a large number of pivotal positions at the Pentagon and State Department remain vacant, hindering the regular policymaking process.”