Politics

John Oliver asks viewers to ‘Make Donald Drumpf Again’

"Last Week Tonight with John Oliver."
Eric Liebowitz/HBO
"Last Week Tonight with John Oliver."

Watch the segment (warning: graphic language):

What’s in a name? HBO’s John Oliver is asking viewers to find out.

The comedian devoted a rare “Last Week Tonight” segment entirely to GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on Sunday. Toward the end of a more than 20-minute take-down that touched on Trump’s character, positions, and past statements, the “Daily Show” alum zeroed in on the Trump family name.

“The very name ‘Trump’ is the cornerstone of his brand. If only there were a way to uncouple that magical word from the man he really is. Well guess what, there is. Because as it turns out, the name Trump was not always his family’s name. One biographer found that a prescient ancestor had changed it from, and this is true, Drumpf,” Oliver said. “And Drumpf is much less magical.”

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Trump’s German ancestors changed the family’s name at some point during the Thirty Years’ War, journalist Gwenda Blair reported in her book, “The Trumps: Three Generations That Built An Empire.”

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“Had he been born Donald Drumpf, his path might have been quite different,” Globe Ideas columnist Britt Peterson wrote in a September column exploring the connotations of both names.

“A 2012 study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that people with easily pronounceable names were judged to be more likeable,” according to Peterson.

The points were not lost on Oliver, who asked viewers to “Make Donald Drumpf Again.”

Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.