Trump’s ‘that dog’ attack is the latest in a string of insults aimed at black people
WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday added his former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, to the growing list of African-Americans he has publicly denigrated on Twitter, calling her “that dog” and a “crazed, crying lowlife” in the wake of her allegations against him of mental deterioration and racism.
Even for a president who consistently takes to Twitter to assail his adversaries, the morning tweet about Manigault Newman was a remarkably crude use of the presidential bully pulpit to disparage a minority woman who once served at the highest levels in his White House.
The tweet reprised Trump’s repeated use of the term “dog” as a way of dehumanizing critics. It was the latest reminder that the president is more than willing to question the looks and intelligence of African-Americans who challenge him.
In recent weeks, Trump has called Don Lemon, the black CNN anchor, “the dumbest man on television.” He questioned the intelligence of LeBron James, the star basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers. He has repeatedly said Maxine Waters, an African-American member of Congress, has a “low IQ.” He called LaVar Ball, the African-American father of another famous Lakers player, a “poor man’s version of Don King.”
On Tuesday, Trump made clear that he has no intention of moderating his language when he feels under attack, regardless of the criticism that he gets for breaching the comity that normally accompanies the office of the president.
Trump also renewed his offensive on his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and blamed him for not putting an end to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Fresh from his vacation in New Jersey, Trump had a light week of scheduled events. He spent much of Tuesday morning tweeting out quotations from people who criticized the special counsel investigation, at times inserting his own opinions.
The president has been lobbing insults at Manigault Newman as she promotes her new book, “Unhinged,” about her time in the White House. But calling her a “dog” was jarring, even as he described her as a “crazed, crying lowlife” in the previous sentence.
“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” he wrote.
Trump has deployed the “dog” insult previously, in one case saying his onetime political rival Ted Cruz “lies like a dog” and, in another, calling Arianna Huffington, co-founder of HuffPost, a “dog.”
“For Trump to compare people to dogs is entirely consistent with a style of insult that puts people down based on their supposed stupidity and immorality,” said Nicholas Haslam, a psychology professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia. In the English language, the “dog” insult is typically used to convey a person is “morally depraved and stupid,” said Haslam, who studies the psychology of insults.
“It’s one of a set of animal metaphors whose purpose is to degrade or demean people by suggesting they are less than human,” he said. “It takes them down an evolutionary notch or two.”
On Monday, NBC released a tape Manigault Newman made of her speaking to Trump, which she said was recorded the day after she was fired. In the recording, the president said he knew nothing about this personnel decision and told her, “I don’t love you leaving at all.”
In December, Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly fired her in the Situation Room, the most secure conference room in the White House. Manigault Newman has released a recording of that conversation, as well.
Manigault Newman has said she has more audio recordings and in an interview Monday on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” she said she would cooperate with the special counsel, if asked. “Anything they want, I’ll share,” she said.
The president’s latest attack on Sessions was packaged among six other tweets assailing the special counsel investigation, which Trump regularly calls a “witch hunt.”
“’They were all in on it, clear Hillary Clinton and FRAME Donald Trump for things he didn’t do.’ Gregg Jarrett on @foxandfriends If we had a real Attorney General, this Witch Hunt would never have been started! Looking at the wrong people,” Trump wrote.
Trump also tweeted insults at the former FBI agent, Peter Strzok, who was fired over not following bureau policies. Strzok had helped to oversee the Hillary Clinton email and Russia investigations. It was later disclosed that he disparaged Trump in text messages.
Trump on Tuesday questioned why the Russia investigation would not end with Strzok’s firing.
“Strzok started the illegal Rigged Witch Hunt — why isn’t this so-called ‘probe’ ended immediately?” he wrote. “Why aren’t these angry and conflicted Democrats instead looking at Crooked Hillary?”