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The Artist Abroad

Is the Donald a moron?

/ 04:14 AM October 10, 2017

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly called President Donald Trump a “f***ing moron” in private. AP PHOTO

NEW YORKDid you know that there is a city in Argentina called “Morón”? Pronounced with the accent on the second syllable and located southwest of Buenos Aires, it has a population of approximately 330,000 people.

Perhaps the city of Morón may now claim the Orange Man as an honorary citizen. But then again, perhaps not. I have not seen any news reports about the good citizens of that Argentinean citadel proudly claiming POTUS as one of their own. So unlike the good citizens of the town of Obama in Japan, who basked in their 15 minutes of fame, when Barack Obama was first elected and conveyed their fervent wish that the first black president of the United States visit their town.


Could Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have been thinking of this rather obscure city when he supposedly described his boss, the Orange Man, not just as a “moron” but as a “f***ing moron”? There has been some debate about what exactly he said, but Tillerson has not denied uttering this most apt and accurate epithet, at a meeting at the Pentagon. Instead, at a press conference he described the president in positive terms, though a bit on the lukewarm side. Mostly a pro-forma paean.

Asked about the alleged insult, Tillerson replied, “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.” Not exactly a denial, yet he did deny allegations that he was going to resign.

Why would the Secretary of State describe his boss in such a manner? Simple: Shortly after Tillerson declared that the U.S. was trying to backchannel the North Koreans in order to tone down the bellicose rhetoric between the two governments, the Twitter-addled Orange Man told him publicly that such negotiations were a waste of time, and that he, the president, would do what had to be done—an ominous statement that not surprisingly ratcheted up the tension.

Nor did it help that shortly after, at a meeting with his generals, he told reporters that this was the calm before the storm. What storm was he referring to, the press wanted to know. Was it North Korea or ISIS? Orange Man did not elaborate. (On the other hand, given how easily this president gets distracted, maybe he was referring literally to the next hurricane threatening to pummel the East Coast.)

Not very smart, to undermine your own Secretary of State. Or, in a word, moronic.

Just so we’re clear about what this word means: the English define “moron” as a “very stupid person” while in its American usage, it means “a stupid person.” The difference lies in the degree of stupidity. The Brits would make it harder for a person to be described as a moron. He or she would have to be particularly deficient in the mental department to qualify, whereas the Yanks are more generous in how a person could be thus described.

The question therefore is, Is Donald Trump very stupid or merely stupid? Given the Donald’s obsession with qualifiers, such as “great,” “beautiful,” the “biggest,” he might himself secretly long for the tag “very stupid,” to differentiate his brand of stupidity from the run-of-the-mill mentally deficient.

It does make some kind of sense, doesn’t it? If you’re going to be described as stupid, you might as well go further and take some comfort in that added adverb. In fact, the Donald may even wish (albeit, secretly) for the even more blatant “extremely.” “Extremely stupid”—now that has some cachet to it, far above the unadorned “stupid” and the merely satisfactory “very stupid.”

Making for a more interesting mix is the adjectival use of the verb “f***.” Now this is a versatile word, and can be seen as a gung-ho compliment, as in “f***ing awesome,” or as expressing puzzlement, as in “What the f***”! or rendering a negative quality even more emphatic, as in, you guessed it, “f***ing moron.”


Now POTUS, three months away from completing his first year in office, has acquired quite an impressive list of adjectives, to which can now be added “stupid” or “very stupid” or “extremely stupid” (take your pick) to precede “dotard.” (We can thank the obese dictator of North Korea for this last). Let’s see now: genital-grabbing, lying, deranged, incompetent, shallow, racist and stupid/very stupid/extremely stupid, dotard and a moron or f***ing moron, to boot.

I almost forgot: “patriot.” Yes, the man who, never having served in Vietnam, criticized Senator John McCain as being unheroic, for having been captured by the North Vietnamese and who withstood many years of torture. Yes, the man who maligned the American Muslim parents of a Gold Star soldier. Add the word to the list. Definitely a patriot, as defined memorably by Samuel Johnson: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Copyright L.H. Francia 2017

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TAGS: Donald Trump, moron, Morón Argentina, opinion, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
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