On Thursday, however, Trump found himself in a rather unusual position in his war of words — receiving a nickname.
In a series of early-morning tweets, prolific Trump critic George Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, once again raged against the president. But instead of using Trump’s name, Conway repeatedly called him “Deranged Donald,” seemingly irked by a Washington Post story about the president promoting a widely debunked accusation that the United Kingdom helped the Obama administration spy on his 2016 campaign. Conway then turned the alliterative sobriquet into a hashtag.
“It seems that George Conway wants to get the hashtag #DerangedDonald trending,” MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin pointed out.
The Internet went to work.
It didn’t take long for the hashtag to begin shooting up the list of Twitter trends, and it was eventually trending in the No. 2 spot worldwide. By late Thursday, the hashtag had been mentioned hundreds of thousands of times.
Trump has yet to directly address Conway’s tweets and the hashtag. The White House did not respond to a request for comment late Thursday.
The swiftness with which the hashtag took off marks yet another example of the president’s critics adopting his tactics. In the Trump era, political discourse has become increasingly characterized by public figures, including elected officials from both sides of the aisle, trading barbs on social media and lampooning each other whenever cameras are rolling. Calls for civility have been tossed aside in favor of a modified version of Michelle Obama’s famed, “When they go low, we go high” edict.
“When they go low, we kick them,” former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. declared proudly in October last year.
In 2017, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) offered a similar take on the former first lady’s words. “My view now is that when they go low, we fight back,” Lieu told the Los Angeles Times.
Conway, a prominent conservative attorney, is one person who hasn’t shied away from tangling with the president. Launching the nickname on Thursday was just Conway’s latest move in his ongoing public spat with his wife’s boss, which has often involved both parties resorting to ugly name-calling.
“Deranged Donald is ... back at it again,” Conway tweeted, sharing The Post’s Wednesday story.
In subsequent tweets, Conway ripped Trump for not reading “books with more accurate, highly valuable, top secret information,” adding that the president “doesn’t like those books unless they have lots of pictures and tell him how great he is.”
Conway concluded his rant by suggesting Trump doesn’t need the books because he has Fox News.
But it wasn’t Conway’s scathing criticism that caught the attention of Twitter users.
“I’ve never wanted anything to trend more than #DerangedDonald,” one person wrote.
“Perfect name,” another person commented.
Soon, the hashtag seemed to be everywhere.
CNN commentator Ana Navarro-Cárdenas simply fired off a tweet with the hashtag repeated 16 times, a strategy quickly adopted by many other users, including Paul Begala, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton.
The nickname didn’t sit well with everyone, though, as some criticized using it as “childish.”
This is not the first time someone has attempted to give Trump a nickname. The president himself has even tried, once abbreviating his name to “President T.”
In 2016, comedian John Oliver encouraged people to call Trump “Drumpf,” which was believed to be the surname of the president’s ancestors, The Post’s Justin Wm. Moyer reported at the time. Last year, Trump adversary and high-profile attorney Michael Avenatti launched a Twitter poll asking his followers to choose between “Con Man Trump” and “Don the Con.” As Newsweek reported, “Don the Con” won with thousands of votes and has since been used by Avenatti as well as many other critics.
A handful of people on Thursday said they preferred the rhyming nickname, but others conceded that “Deranged Donald” reigned supreme.