President Trump is consulting White House aides about the best insulting nicknames to use on his opponents, using the advisers as a taxpayer-funded focus group for jabs like “horseface” for alleged former mistress Stormy Daniels, which he tweeted last week.
“Well before Trump mocked Daniels’ physical appearance, he trial-ballooned the ‘horseface’ dig privately—among White House aides, close friends, and acquaintances,” reports The Daily Beast. “The president often tosses around ideas for snide new nicknames in smack-talk sessions with associates, if only to gauge their reactions. And, as in past cases, the ‘horseface’ incident saw Trump defying presidential norms … and ignoring senior aides and confidants who advised him simply to let the matter go.”
Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) has alleged that she had an affair with President Trump in 2006 and was paid $130,000 by Trump lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen to keep quiet. (Cohen has since pleaded guilty to multiple felonies, including a campaign-finance violation, and is cooperating with Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.) Represented by attorney Michael Avenatti, Clifford sued Trump for defamation after Trump called her a liar on the campaign trail. A judge dismissed the lawsuit last week and ordered Clifford to pay Trump’s legal fees, leading to the president’s gloating tweet:
“‘Federal Judge throws out Stormy Danials lawsuit versus Trump. Trump is entitled to full legal fees.’ @FoxNews Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas. She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!” wrote Trump.
“Federal Judge throws out Stormy Danials lawsuit versus Trump. Trump is entitled to full legal fees.” @FoxNews Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas. She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
(Despite claiming that Daniels “knows nothing” about him, Trump didn’t correct his tweet after he misspelled Daniels’ name as “Danials.”)
During the past week, Trump’s “horseface” comment has been called a nadir in presidential discourse. “I think the habit of insulting one’s political enemies is unfortunately long standing in this country, and he has brought it to a new low,” said one of Trump’s 2016 primary challengers, Republican Carly Fiorina, on CNN Thursday.
During that primary, Trump mocked Fiorina’s appearance, which became a flashpoint in a GOP debate. Despite that — as well as Trump’s physically mocking a disabled reporter and the surfacing of the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, in which Trump bragged about his right to sexually assault women — a solid conservative and evangelical base elevated him to the presidency.
The Daily Beast reports that Trump’s workshopping of insults is nothing new and that he did the same for “Rocket Man,” which he used in a tweet denigrating North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, stirring fears of a nuclear conflict.
As for the “horseface” comment, Clifford had the last word (thus far) on Twitter. “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present your president,” she wrote. “In addition to his…umm…shortcomings, he has demonstrated his incompetence, hatred of women and lack of self control on Twitter AGAIN! And perhaps a penchant for bestiality. Game on, Tiny.”