Generally speaking, President Trump doesn’t spend much time insulting people on Twitter. Which isn’t to say he doesn’t often insult people on Twitter; rather, when he chooses a target, it’s rare that they remain in his sights for long.
There are exceptions. Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, for example, has been a subject of Trump’s frustration for months. Democratic congressional leaders have, as well. Often, though, Trump will just drop a tweet or two, often apparently in response to something he saw on Fox News. He’s quick to offer an insult but also quick to move on.
Trump disparaged Darroch as “not liked or well thought of,” “wacky,” “stupid,” “pompous” and a “fool.” In the same barrage, he described outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May’s actions as “foolish.” His anger stems from leaked cables Darroch sent to British leaders over the course of Trump’s administration in which the ambassador’s skeptical, critical assessments of Trump are shared in blunt terms. At one point, Darroch described Trump as “radiat[ing] insecurity,” an assessment that Trump’s Twitter response certainly doesn’t entirely undercut.
The breadth of that response, though! It’s not often that Trump assails an opponent as wacky, stupid and a fool. In fact, a review of Trump’s tweets since he announced his candidacy for the presidency finds that only Darroch has been labeled with all three of those terms. Others — Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and the New York Times — have been called both foolish and stupid, but only Darroch also got “wacky.”
He also got “pompous,” making him the only person to be the target of that pejorative in Trump’s tweets since 2014. That year, Trump retweeted someone using that word to describe President Barack Obama.
“Fool” and “foolish” are the most popular of the insults Trump used against Darroch. Since 2015, he’s referred to Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, CNN, columnist George Will, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, celebrity LaVar Ball, NBC, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and London Mayor Sadiq Khan using one of those terms. He’s used it more than once to describe Obama, political consultant Karl Rove and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
“Wacky” is relatively unusual. Trump’s use of the term has generally applied to women, such as Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) and former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman (who has been labeled “wacky” in four Trump tweets). Among the other men who’ve been called wacky is California billionaire Tom Steyer, who on Tuesday announced his intention to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 and potentially boot Trump from office.
Those he’s called “stupid” include some marquee names. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton get that label, as does former FBI director James B. Comey and Bloomberg Opinion editor Tim O’Brien. The New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper and the Times have both been derided as stupid. (Full disclosure: The Post has not.)
Trump’s arsenal of insults is either fairly limited or overextended. Over and over, he deploys the same disparagements against his perceived enemies due either to a lack of creativity or simply the volume of targets within his range. But few have been so thoroughly insulted as Britain’s Darroch, a mark of just how much the ambassador got under Trump’s skin.
That may continue. British politician Jeremy Hunt, who might replace May as prime minister, pledged on Tuesday to keep Darroch in his current position.
Such a turn of events would provide one potentially interesting outcome: Trump would have plenty of time to come up with a few more ways to disparage Darroch on Twitter.