By Tom Quiner

Donald Trump is defined by his negativity.

With the possible exception of Don Rickles, I have never heard anyone put down more people in my life.

At least Mr. Rickles is funny. His put-downs of Ronald Reagan even had the Gipper rolling in the aisle.

But Trump’s put-downs lack cleverness and a deft touch. Speaking of the editor of Vanity Fair:

“A total loser. Sloppy. Grubby.”

Speaking of Jeb Bush:

“Loser. Pathetic. Low energy.”

He could learn from masters such as Woody Allen who said:

“The only time my wife and I had a simultaneous orgasm was when the judge signed the divorce papers.”

Or Dorothy Parker’s critique of Audrey Hepburn’s acting:

“She ran the whole gamut of the emotions from A to B.”

Or Bette Midler’s assessment of Princess Anne:

“She loves nature in spite of what it did to her.”

Trump’s put downs are dreary, lacking an ounce of charm or creativity, and relying on repetition. Speaking of Dr. Ben Carson …

“Very weak on illegal immigration.”

“Very weak on illegal immigration.”

… occasionally mixing it up with nuggets like this …

“Many lies by Ben Carson.”

… before returning to the tried and tested:

“Very weak on illegal immigration.”

If only he could take a page from Bette Davis speaking of Joan Crawford:

“Just because she’s dead doesn’t mean she’s gonna change.”

Ouch! Talk about kicking someone when they’re down.

Or how about Gerald Ford’s delightful putdown of his tanned political adversary, Ronald Reagan:

“He doesn’t dye his hair – he’s just prematurely orange.”

If we’re to be stuck with one put-down after another, Mr. Trump needs to learn from the experts. Bette Davis was at her put-down best when discussing Joan Crawford:

“Why am I so good at playing bitches? I think it’s because I’m not a bitch. Maybe that’s why Miss Crawford always plays ladies.”

Or how about Mohammad Ali discussing his arch rival:

“Joe Frazier is so ugly he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wildlife.”

Poor Donald Trump is so out his league. Here’s how he puts down The National Review:


Here’s how he puts down The New Hampshire Union Leader:


Here’s how he puts down The New York Daily News:


Here’s how he puts down The New York Times … well, you get the idea. (“Failing.”)

If only he could mix it up once and a while and take a cue from Frank Sinatra discussing Robert Redford:

“Well, at least he has found his true love – what a pity he can’t marry himself.”

Or Sir John Gielgud’s assessment of Casablanca’s star, Ingrid Bergman:

“She speaks five languages and can’t act in any of them.”

Or how about the recently deceased Prince’s reaction to Michael Jackson’s album, “Bad:”

“Michael Jackson’s album was called Bad because there wasn’t enough room on the sleeve for Pathetic.”

You’ve got to love Madonna’s slap at Sir Elton John:

“The easiest way for you to lose 10 pounds is just to take off your wig.”

Since Donald Trump has morphed from a wheeler dealer into a politician, he should study the art of the political put down. Tom Clancy’s take-down of former President Bill Clinton is a classic:

“Bill Clinton is a man who thinks international affairs means dating a girl from out of town.”

But no one could hold a candle to the Man of the Century himself, Sir Winston Churchill.

Lady Astor attempted to stick it to Churchill big time:

“Winston, if you were my husband I would flavour your coffee with poison.”

Churchill’s response:

“Madam, if I were your husband, I should drink it.”

And who can forget this classic:

Labour MP Bessie Braddock to Churchill: “Winston, you’re drunk!”

Churchill: “Bessie, you’re ugly, and tomorrow morning I shall be sober.”

And here is his description of his rival Neville Chamberlain who famously appeased Hitler:

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.”

If Donald Trump is going to be on the national scene a while longer, there’s still time for the author of “The Art of the Deal” to uncover the entertainment value of ‘the art of the putdown.’


  1. Oliver on April 28, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    These remind me of some Shakespeare insults.

    “There is no speculation in those eyes which thou dost glare with”

    “O, if men were to be saved by merit, what hole in hell were hot enough for him?”

    “Your means are slender, and your waste is great.”

    • quinersdiner on April 28, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      No one is better than Mr. Shakespeare.

      • bluebird of bitterness on April 28, 2016 at 7:52 pm

        Shakespeare was good, but my favorite is P. G. Wodehouse:

        “The Duke of Dunstable had one-way pockets. He would walk ten miles in the snow to chisel an orphan out of tuppence.”

        “Purkiss looked at him fishily, nature having made it impossible for him to look at anyone otherwise, he being a man with a face like a halibut.”

        “It had been said of Crispin Scrope with considerable justice that if men were dominoes, he would be the double blank.”

  2. parrillaturi on April 28, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    He doesn’t care how much he hurts those who oppose him. Most bullies aren’t able to put you down with some sort of finesse. Trump, being one himself, is a very crude individual, who must come across as tough, and overbearing. No diplomacy at all.

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