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We can't help becoming numbed by time and frequency to President Donald Trump's sub-juvenile conduct.

Many will support this man-child no matter what, either enjoying or overlooking his infantility. Others simply lack the capacity for the full bursts of outrage that his recurring behavior justifies. They ration their outrage. They give themselves time off.

It's important, though, that from time to time we subject ourselves to a reminder of the preposterousness of this presidency in attitudinal and behavioral terms, beyond the performance of the economy or the state of international affairs.

That this second-place president is a childish brat is a matter for vital occasional re-chronicling. That's especially important for those not on Twitter who go through their days without ever seeing what this president can't get through a day without posting.

On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to express the depth of his hurt feelings and petty resentment that Fox News, his own personal network, had interviewed Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and that its interviewer, Chris Wallace, had made complimentary remarks about the young mayor of South Bend, Ind.

Wallace had said that, whatever you make of Buttigieg's views, the young man has an impressive resume and a richness of substance.

So the following is your president speaking, via Twitter, a bit after noon, uncorrected from the form in which the threat-maker of the free world composed: "Hard to believe that Fox News is wasting airtime on Mayor Pete, as Chris Wallace likes to call him. Fox is moving more and more to the losing (wrong) side in covering the Dems. They got dumped from the Democrats boring debates, and they just want in. They forgot the people who got them there. Chris Wallace said, 'I actually think, whether you like his opinions or not, that Mayor Pete has a lot of substance ... fascinating biography.' Gee, he never speaks well of me--I like Mike Wallace better ... and Alfred E. Newman will never be President."

Trump refers to Chris Wallace's dad, Mike, in the present tense, though Mike is departed now. And Trump means to make fun of Buttigieg's appearance, which is very adult of him, by calling him Alfred E. Neuman, meaning the longtime mascot and cover boy of Mad Magazine, not Newman.

But the more revealing element is not the misspelling or the faux pas or that Trump bothers himself in the first place about a Fox interview with a Democratic presidential candidate polling in single digits. It's that Trump responds to Wallace's compliment for Buttigieg by tweeting: "Gee, he never speaks well of me."

Jealous, much? Suck thumb, much?

I call Trump's behavior sub-juvenile because it's not elementary playground level, but detention-hall level. He doesn't get to play with others because he doesn't play well with others. It is thus an insult to our average juveniles to suggest that this president is at all like them.

More seriously, Trump also tweeted on Sunday, "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!"

The first problem is the exclamation point. Either your words exclaim themselves or they don't. A president tweeting a war threat is self-exclaiming.

The second seeming problem is that there was no clear predicate at the time for that threat.

A missile believed to have been fired from the east had landed in Baghdad near the U.S. Embassy. Maybe Trump had evidence of Iranian complicity. But is a Sunday-afternoon tweet threat the best or right way for an American president to respond to that information?

And that's not even the best question. More relevant--or curious--is whether bluster from America's Brat-in-Chief ever amounts to anything.

Consider that, on Sunday, Trump tweeted to warn Iran never to threaten America again or it would face its "end."

So let's go back to July 22 of last year, when Donald the Menace tweeted as follows: "To Iranian President Rouhani: Never ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before."

That one was in all caps, which meant Trump really, really meant it.

America needs a president who can be taken seriously--unless the one it's burdened with temporarily is unworthy of being taken seriously, in which case we just roll our eyes and pray.

John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.

Editorial on 05/22/2019

Print Headline: An insult to juveniles


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Archived Comments

  • mozarky2
    May 22, 2019 at 5:55 a.m.

    Wayne Allen Root in Townhall:
    According to a new analysis by Pew Research -- based on hard facts -- the Obama years were a nightmare for the 50 states. That's exactly what I've been saying. And Trump's economic policies have saved those same 50 states. Trump saved the Union. That's exactly what I've been saying.

    I know facts scare liberals to death. But there is now proof that Obama's policies were a disaster for the states. "Free" didn't work out so well for Obama. Here are the facts from Pew:

    First, Obama's so-called recovery was the worst and weakest in 70-plus years. Second, Pew reports, even after this "recovery," fewer than half the states had recouped the tax revenues they lost in the recession.

    Even as late as 2015 and 2016 (Obama's last two years in office) state budgets were a mess. And Pew reports that as Trump took office, the U.S. economy showed signs of going back into a recession.

    In other words, for our 50 states, there never was a recovery. The Obama years were a disaster of epic proportions. Worse, most states were in such terrible shape they could not have survived another recession.

  • mozarky2
    May 22, 2019 at 5:57 a.m.

    Pew reports that from the moment Trump took office, state economies started to dramatically improve. Then the economy skyrocketed in 2018 following the Trump tax cuts. In the third quarter of 2018, state tax revenues grew by 5.7%.

    Trump's policies produced an economic miracle for the states. In fiscal 2018, states added almost $10 billion to their rainy day funds. Ironically, even California, the state suffering most from Trump derangement syndrome, prospered from the president's policies.

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom just announced a $21.5 billion surplus, far above projections. Why? Because corporate tax returns are so good. But didn't Trump dramatically cut corporate taxes? Didn't liberals claim this would reduce tax revenue? Wrong again.

    Californians suffered under Obama. Obama produced misery. Trump has made California rich. But Californians hate Trump. Los Angeles is renaming Rodeo Road as Obama Boulevard. No wonder they call California the land of fruits and nuts.

    Even the deep-blue land of Obama (aka Illinois) just reported tax revenues exceeding projections by $1.5 billion, thereby eliminating this year's budget gap. How come Obama's policies never did that?

  • mozarky2
    May 22, 2019 at 6:01 a.m.

    The Trump Miracle Economy barrels forward, unabated.

  • mozarky2
    May 22, 2019 at 6:07 a.m.

    Mayor Pete Buttigieg appears to be experiencing a national polling slump, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.
    The current mayor of South Bend now has five percent support, down five points from his peak of ten percent support at the end of April.

    Democrats enjoying a boost in support include Sen. Bernie Sanders, now up five points in a month, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, now with 13 percent support. Kamala Harris holds steady with eight percent of the vote.
    The Morning Consult political tracker also shows a dip in support for Buttigieg after reaching a nine percent high in April. He is now tracking at six percent.
    Buttigieg has enjoyed a wave of positive media coverage, including a mention from Oprah.
    His appearance in a Fox News town hall also created some buzz on Sunday, but the polls have not reflected any bump in support yet.
    Buttibing, Buttiboom-Rimshot!
    President Trump has effectively Alinsky'ed Buttigieg with that Alfred E. Neuman joke. I'm tellin' you, progs, Trump wants Biden, bigly.

  • DamonDio
    May 22, 2019 at 6:22 a.m.

    What is the point of the comment section if this troll just writes about anything he's thinking at the moment and doesn't link it to the article? You're ruining the paper.

  • RBear
    May 22, 2019 at 6:28 a.m.

    I see moz has no ability to comment on Brummett's column with rational thought, resorting to copying/pasting from right wing publications with biased reporting by Wayne Root. BTW, both comments were lifted from Newsmax, a far right opinion site. Both comments are false in their "opinion," but I'm guessing moz couldn't even tell you why they are true or false. He just copies and pastes. Root cherry picks final numbers, but doesn't dig into the details. Quite frankly, if he did he'd find the fallacies of his position.
    But, to get back to Brummett's column Trump continues to show how juvenile he can be. I always remember from school that when you don't have a strong position on something you started calling people names to make you look "big." Trump apparently has never grown up. He also seems to have a severe self-confidence issue. When he attacked Buttigieg, Pete just shrugged it off as Trump being juvenile Trump. Basically, the rest of us have grown up. Maybe one day Trump will too.
    With regards to tweets about Iran, is Trump really suggesting regime change? Let's go back and review the last couple of regime changes and how much it cost the US. But just as Brummett pointed out, Trump really doesn't mean any of that. He's just tweeting to his issue illiterate base who REALLY, REALLY, REALLY believes his tweets.

  • mozarky2
    May 22, 2019 at 6:34 a.m.

    How well I recall your outrage at some of the names Trump has been called in this forum.
    And, RB, you question Pew Research? They're not exactly Trump supporters, you know.

  • PopMom
    May 22, 2019 at 6:38 a.m.

    It is frightening that a US president would suggest to a news outlet that it should not cover the race of another candidate for president. He is a wannabe Putin.

  • RBear
    May 22, 2019 at 6:42 a.m.

    No Moz, you idiot. I question Wayne Root’s misinterpretation of Pew Research. Apparently you don’t have half a brain to be able to discern false interpretation because you can’t even understand the basic facts of Pew Research. Such an idiot. As someone said, you are apparently prone to troll Brummett’s columns. Bottom line is that it makes you look like even more of the fool you are.

  • RBear
    May 22, 2019 at 6:44 a.m.

    To demonstrate your absolute stupidity, you once said “I’m the least racist person I know!”