Trump Called US Military Leaders ‘Losers’ While Calling ISIS ‘Smart’ and ‘Tough’

One controversial feature of Donald Trump’s first overseas trip as president was his abandonment of the formerly-magical catchphrase “Radical Islamic Terrorism,” the use of which we were all assured was absolutely crucial to the defeat of ISIS. The White House spin over this lapse has been that Trump is “exhausted,” an excuse that Trump From Three Years Ago roundly mocked on Twitter, but which ignores the far more likely possibility that Trump’s own National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster agrees with Obama that the phrase is “unhelpful.”

Supportive of that point is the fact that Trump again failed to use the phrase, or any variation of it, in his remarks on the terrorist attack in Manchester Monday night. Instead, Trump rolled out a new verbal MOAB designed to demoralize ISIS terrorists, declaring that “I will call them, from now on, losers.”

However, a brief review of Trump’s history with this particular word suggests it will not have quite the impact he thinks it will. Here are just a few of the many times Trump has deployed this particular barb:

Yes, it is absurd to think that calling terrorists “losers” will demoralize them when it hasn’t even broken Rosie O’Donnell’s stride, and yes, it is deeply disturbing that Trump labeled U.S. military leaders that way while he was also demoralizing ISIS by calling them “smart” and “tough,” and maybe this is revealing of Trump’s trivial mind, but honestly, who gives a shit what you call terrorists?

In all fairness, it wasn’t Trump who came up with the idiotic premise that using a magical code-phrase would help defeat ISIS, it was pretty much every Republican, and Fox News. Trump just made it sing. It’s also true that pretty much nothing you call these guys is actually going to help them, except maybe praising them as smart and tough. But as Obama and everyone who knows what the hell they’re talking about will explain, there are things you can say that hurt efforts to fight them. Calling them “losers” won’t do either.

What’s galling about this, aside from the fact that it was Trump himself who made such an issue out of what to call ISIS, are Trump’s actions, not his words. Trump can call ISIS “Pippi Longstocking” if he likes, provided he doesn’t, say, burn our closest ally by compromising anti-ISIS intelligence to the Russians, or call off an anti-ISIS offensive on the advice of the foreign agent working in his White House.

He can call ISIS “late for dinner” if he would, just once, show up to the Situation Room when he’s putting American lives at risk. Trump can call them whatever he wants, for all I care, as long as he stops exploiting them to push nakedly discriminatory policies.

Instead of sitting around trying to figure out what to call terrorists, Trump ought to get busy doing something about them that might actually make us more safe, not less.