Commentary: Trump Short-Sighted Name-Calling


Commentary: Trump Short-Sighted Name-Calling

By John Krull

INDIANAPOLIS – President Donald Trump says his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, is all but senile.

John Krull, publisher,

“Biden can’t put two sentences together,” the president told Chris Wallace of Fox News. “They wheel him out…. He reads a teleprompter and then he goes back into his basement.”

Trump better be right about that, for at least two reasons.

The first reason is one to which the president isn’t likely to pay much attention. It involves basic morality – common decency.

If Biden isn’t in a state of cognitive decline – and all the empirical evidence says he isn’t – then Trump is lying. It’s not right to lie.

This is particularly true when one lies to inflict deliberate harm on another human being, not to mention those who care about that other human being.

But all reasonable people who were waiting for Donald Trump to start telling the truth and behaving like an honorable man gave up hope long, long ago. He treats the truth and any consideration of courtesy the way a jackhammer treats pavement.

A man who has told more than 20,000 documented untruths since he put his hand on the Bible, swore his oath of office and then said “so help me, God” won’t reform his ways now.

The other reason Trump should quit deriding Biden’s mental state, though, should give him some pause.

The president should quit doing it because it’s dumb politics. It makes Trump’s task of climbing back into contention in this year’s presidential race that much harder.

National polls now put the president eight to 15 points behind Biden. Most polls also show Trump trailing in every battleground state, including some he won comfortably in 2016.

Worse for the president and his fellow Republicans, his political problems have spread to the rest of the party. He’s dragged down candidates across the nation and managed to turn toss-up races into opportunities for Democrats and transformed some Senate seats thought safe into real dogfights.

There even have been reports that major Republican donors have decided to write off the presidential race and focus their efforts – and their giving – to trying to hold onto the Senate.

That makes a certain amount of sense. After watching Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, disregard and rewrite on whim long-established rules regarding lifetime judicial appointments, conservatives have reason to worry about what Democrats might do if they gain power and choose to do the same.

Citing McConnell as precedent and justification, of course.

The president disputes this, of course. He claims he’s seen polls that show him far, far ahead of Biden and the Senate safely in GOP control.

Trump’s actions, though, belie his protestations.

He’s beseeched Biden to agree to hold 10 debates. Biden has said that the traditional three presidential debates will be enough, thank you.

Underdogs always want more debates and frontrunners fewer.

Debates can be gamechangers, particularly for the candidate who is leading. A serious mistake or a bad performance can take the wheels off the fastest-moving bandwagon.

This is even more true if the lead dog is considered an exceptional thinker or speaker.

Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection campaign was on a glide path until he turned in a befuddled and wandering performance in his first debate against challenger Walter Mondale. Mondale and his team maximized the damage by emphasizing what a great communicator Reagan was and how poor little Walter just didn’t have that kind of easy fluency.

Reagan managed to right things in the second debate, but not before he’d thrown his own camp into a panic and given Mondale his first real shot.

Barack Obama had a similar experience in 2012. He showed up for his first debate with Republican Mitt Romney unprepared and had his head handed to him. Romney’s squad also had set Obama up for failure by touting the incumbent’s incredible oratory in contrast to the Republican’s more pedestrian rhetorical talents.

Obama, too, managed to steady the ship, but he had to fight Romney right until the end.

Trump, on the other hand, has set the bar so low for Biden that if the former vice president manages not to drool on himself during the debates, he’ll win the game of expectations.

The president has set himself, not Biden, up for failure.

But that’s Donald Trump.

That’s our president.

FOOTNOTE: John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students

The City-County Observer posted this article without opinion, bias, or editing.



  1. Trump’s increasingly absurd briefings – Trump continues his dishonesty ~

    President Donald Trump says the country is doing great in a pandemic that just infected its four millionth US victim and is killing 1,000 people a day. But his claim is based on a brazen confidence trick, requiring Americans to ignore his responsibility for the spike in the southern and western states as he claims credit for the success of northeastern states that suppressed the disease after not heeding his advice to reopen before the virus was under control.

    And that might not even be the most outrageous thing the President said at his third briefing in as many days.

    The President, after months mocking mask wearing and social distancing guidelines, trawled for credit and claimed he was setting an “example” after deciding to cancel Republican convention events in Covid-battered Florida.

    Though deeming the situation too dangerous to hold the quadrennial political showpiece, he nevertheless insisted that it was perfectly safe for children to go back to school full time in a few weeks.

    Trump used northeastern states like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which lowered their infection curve with strict stay-at-home orders, as part of a misleading argument that much of the US was free of the virus. What he didn’t say is that those states succeeded because they ignored his calls to reopen.

  2. Trump proves that he is not a career politician. A politician who is experience will try not to say the wrong thing or be interpeted as saying something wrong. Trump has spoken this way all of his life But asked any 73 yr old man his opinion. He will tell you the exact truth without holding back any punches. Probably a whole bunch of curse words also.

  3. I don’t care what Trump says or does, he has my vote in November. We know Joe’s mine is out meandering around in a place we all hope to avoid. The democrats are scrambling to find someone who can beat Trump, good luck. I wonder if John Krull really believes the stuff he writes or just playing to his socialist audience. The violent and criminal nature of democrats strikes fear in decent people, so we remain silent. I am fearful of liberals and avoid any contact with them. I would have a Trump sign in my yard or a bumper sticker on my car but feel a democrat would confront me in a manner that could lead to violence. We all know that all the unrest and violence in democrat controlled cities is just a heartbeat away from us in Southern Indiana. Look at Indy. Vote Trump or vote for a Deblasio type.


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