Did you have a nickname as a kid? I don’t mean “Jimmy” from James, “Missy” from Melissa, “Jack” from John, or “Beth” from Elizabeth. I’m thinking more along the line of “Curly,” “Skippy,” “Scooter,” “T-Bone,” “Pee-Wee,” “Little Missy,” “Princess,” or “Bud.” Before it became politically incorrect, I’m pretty sure many people probably had at least one friend that everybody called “Fats.” At the time, that wasn’t necessarily a derogatory term, it just suited the individual. The recipient of the moniker was often a beloved friend.

Maybe you still have a nickname that floated right along with you from childhood to adulthood. Anybody who lives in the South knows at least one person who goes by “Bubba.” Females with younger siblings might be “Sissy” throughout their lives. “Cowboy,” “Deuce,” “Bull,” “Ace,” “Lovie,” and “Tiger” also come to mind. Where you’re from might have influenced a name: “Buckeye” from Ohio, “Cajun” from Louisiana, “Cheesehead” from Wisconsin, “Newfie” from Newfoundland. And, of course, “Goober” and “Redneck.” (The former is definitely Southern, the latter spans the country.) Even Presidents aren’t immune, as in “Ike” Eisenhower, and “Dubya” Bush.

I mention all these names because it seems Donald Trump is especially fond of nicknames. However, the ones he bestows on people probably aren’t the kind that the recipients want following them around forever. Perhaps you’ll remember “Little Marco” Rubio, “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz and “Low Energy Jeb” Bush from the 2016 presidential campaign trail. “Crooked Hillary” Clinton also made its debut that year (and has been used repeatedly in the intervening 18 months or so).

More recently, the President has reached into his seemingly ever-ready bag of modifiers to confer handles on varied and sundry people in the political arena. The Senate Minority Whip from Illinois is now “Dicky” Durbin. “Sneaky” Dianne Feinstein represents California in the Senate. Former Minnesota Senator Al Franken was simply “Al Frankenstein.” One of Mr. Trump’s favorite nicknames is “Pocahontas.” That one he reserves exclusively for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. (Warren kind of brought that one on herself when she made a dubious claim about being of Native American heritage.) She actually has two presidential nicknames, the other being “Goofy.” And then there’s “Crazy Bernie” Sanders and “Cryin’ Chuck” Schumer.

The loyal opposition is not the only Trump target. “Liddle Bob” Corker (Tennessee Republican) and Arizona’s Jeff “Flake-y” (vs. Flake) are two prominent examples. Those were both coined during the recent debate about the tax cut legislation. And on the heels of that came the title “Sloppy Steve” Bannon for the former White House chief strategist, who was quoted in a just-released supposed tell-all book saying ugly things about the President’s son, among others.

One of the most publicized nicknames was handed out to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. President Trump had tried out “Maniac” and “Whack Job” before settling in on “Little Rocket Man.” He liked that one so well he used it at a United Nations address in 2017.

The press has hardly been immune to less-than-flattering names as well. Even years before he decided to run for office, Mr. Trump hung the description “Sleepy Eyes” on NBC reporter Chuck Todd. MSNBC’s morning duo are “Psycho” Joe Scarborough and “Low I.Q., Crazy, Dumb-as-a-Rock” Mika Brzezinski.

With all the names the President has bestowed on others, it probably won’t come as a surprise that some folks have also come up with alternative descriptors for Mr. Trump. A few that caught my eye include: “Trumpty Dumpty,” “Tangerine Tornado,” “Prima Donald,” “The Lyin’ King,” “Hair Hitler,” “Boss Tweet,” “Donald Chump,” “Agent Orange,” “Tsarzan,” and “The Infuriator.” Those are at least printable. There are many that are crudely unflattering as well.

Trump does have supporters, of course. One group of women recently dubbed themselves the “Adorable Deplorables,” turning a negative Hillary Clinton remark into something positive. Other descriptors aren’t as entertaining, but include “Strong,” “Great,” “Determined,” and “Leader.” (I’m thinking Trump advocates are going to have to be a little more creative in their thinking if anything is going to stick.)

The best thing that could happen, though, is if everyone involved quit calling everybody else names. Yes, some are funny, and others may even be quite true. But I’ll bet my childhood friend didn’t really like being called “Mellonhead” by everybody. We also had a guy we called “Moon,” but he earned that one by, shall we say, inappropriate actions. (He told his parents the guys called him that because he had a round face. Uh-huh.) When it comes to today’s political landscape, though, a little civility from all concerned would be welcome.

©MMXVIII. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer