Trump's Vulgarity Is Not the Problem

His total lack of empathy is.
June 30, 2017, 4:58pm
Image by author via Mario Tama/Getty Images

Welcome to Evesplaining, politics writer Eve Peyser's column about why everyone else is wrong and she's right.

Every time liberals lose their shit over Trump's vulgarity of the week, I wonder if there's anything to the often-overhyped notion that the president's childish antics are a "distraction" from the real issues, whatever those are. The fact that Trump is spending his days feuding with morning show hosts and whining about the "fake media" is bad, obviously, but it's not what ultimately makes him such a lousy president.


After Trump's latest Twitter meltdown—where he launched a misogynist attack against Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski—Preet Bharara, the US attorney that Trump fired in March after previously promises to keep him on, shared his take, which, as it turns out, is the pinnacle how a prominent Resistance leaders miss the point.

Bharara's stance is one often taken by opposition figures who want to appear to be above the fray. This isn't about partisanship, they intone nobly. It's about civility and norms, the foundation of our democracy.

This sounds nice, but ignores the human lives affected by the GOP dogma Trump is spending his presidency advancing. As Fusion's Hamilton Nolan recently wrote, "Civility seems like a pressing matter when you already have everything else you require." If the Medicaid cut that Trump and his Republican allies have endorsed will directly affect your life, his tweets about someone's plastic surgery might not be your primary concern.

Of course, Trump's distinctly unpresidential nature is as embarrassing as it is vile and entertaining—an annoyance, a constant reminder of what an immature sexist prick he is—and it could very well be hazardous to our national security.

But imagine a president who was just as uncouth as Trump but embraced a set of actually populist positions: universal health insurance, a minimum wage hike, and an increase in infrastructure spending paid for by taxes on the wealthy. Would his boorish behavior still be a problem? Sure, but the whole charade wouldn't be nearly as sinister.

The indecency, dishonesty, volatile temperament, and shamelessness Bharara is so peeved by certainly contribute to America seeming more unhinged by the month. But the fundamental problem with Trump is that he is a Republican, and is governing as such. Trump's flamboyant heartlessness, his pure rage, is exacerbated by him belonging to a party that aims to sabotage social services, cut taxes for rich, deregulate the economy, and build up the military at the expense of all other government functions. And really, what's more vulgar than that?

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