Speaker Nancy Pelosi skipped the sugarcoating and punched the President in the gut on Monday.
Trump had announced to the world from the Oval Office that he is taking hydroxychloroquine, a prescription anti-malaria medication that he has repeatedly floated as a possible cure or preventative treatment for coronavirus. The side effects of the drug are numerous, but include dry cough, hoarseness, fever, difficulty breathing and increased incidence of cardiac arrhythmia — not ideal, Cockburn imagines, for someone with such an expansive waistline.
Pelosi went full Trump herself when she heard the president was taking hydroxychloroquine.
‘As far as the President is concerned, he’s our President and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say,’ she said on CNN. ‘So I think it’s not a good idea.’
Pelosi also deployed a classic Trump rhetorical technique with that ‘they say’. That phrase, alongside others like ‘so I’ve heard’ and ‘people are saying’, is a Trump favorite because he can make an appeal to authority without ever identifying the authority — likely because the ‘authority’ doesn’t actually exist. The Washington Post noticed this tactic back in 2016, noting that Trump uses it to ‘couch’ his more controversial statements.
Pelosi is in a similar situation; official White House doctors have declined to say that Trump is actually obese, merely overweight. In fact, his medical reports have stirred up a plethora of conspiracy theories from people accusing Trump’s doctors of skimming a few pounds from his real weight to avoid the ‘obese’ classification.
Not to be outdone with petty insults, Trump responded to Pelosi’s remark on Tuesday by accusing her of having ‘mental problems’. His attack would have been better suited for his upcoming election opponent, Joe Biden, who is yet to complete a coherent sentence this campaign. In fact, Biden failed miserably at his attempt to beat the President at his nickname game, dubbing Trump ‘President Tweety’, a moniker that reminds Cockburn more of the Looney Tunes than Twitter.
Biden should probably let Pelosi handle the pejoratives from here on out, although her past swipes at Trump have also been found lacking. In one of her most famous recent examples, she ripped up into Trump’s State of the Union address on national television. It was delightfully tacky, but backfired immediately when people noted she had ripped up a speech touting record high unemployment, celebrating the troops, and honoring scholarship recipients. The truth is, when it comes to small-minded slights, no one can match The Donald.
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