“This president, I have a new name for him, Mr. Make Matters Worse,” the top Democrat said during an appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation.
Pelosi explained that the new nickname is a reference to Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“He has made matters worse from the start — delay, denial, it’s a hoax, it’ll go away magically, it’s a miracle, and all the rest — and we’re in this situation.”
Trump has long claimed that the novel virus will simply disappear on its own. Most recently, during an interview with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, the commander-in-chief repeated his prediction, arguing that he will be proven right “eventually.”
During the interview, Trump appeared to downplay the coronavirus crisis, suggesting that the situation in the United States seems worse than elsewhere in the world because of widespread testing. Trump also dismissed news stories about the overall death toll from COVID-19, insisted that schools need to reopen and repeatedly blamed China for the spread of the virus.
“It came from China, they should have never let it escape, they should have never let it out,” he told Wallace, disputing the anchor’s assertions that the U.S. is not dealing with the pandemic as well as countries in the European Union.
As New York Magazine reported, Trump has long used nicknames to attack and denigrate his political opponents. During the 2016 presidential election, he used nicknames to slam both Republicans and Democrats. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was nicknamed “Low-Energy Jeb,” while Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was called “Lyin’ Ted.” Trump called Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida “Liddle Marco” and referred to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “Crooked Hillary.”
The president has attacked his general election opponent, Joe Biden, in a similar way, nicknaming him “Sleepy.” Some White House advisers have reportedly urged him to stop using the insult, arguing that it is weak and ineffective.
“It seems to have dawned on Trump only recently that his nickname for Biden was doing very little to reduce his opponent’s appeal,” New York Magazine wrote, noting that the commander-in-chief appears to have settled for “Corrupt Joe.”
Pelosi has previously tried to use Trump’s language against him. In a recent interview, she said that the commander-in-chief himself is a “hoax.” Trump has frequently used the term to describe media reports and investigations into his conduct.