BOSTON (CBS) – Trump administration officials are pushing back on a Washington Post report claiming the Centers for Disease Control was told to remove seven specific words and phrases from official documents being drafted for the 2019 fiscal year budget. The words are: diversity, entitlement, evidence-based, fetus, science-based, transgender, and vulnerable.
Administration officials are claiming it never happened. But there’s no doubt that words have power, and the words politicians and bureaucrats choose can often be controversial.
Take President Trump’s use of the word “smart.”
It’s one of his favorites, and it stood up well for him as he outsmarted his competition during the campaign. But his first year blunders have challenged that adjective.
In a recent Quinnipiac poll, when voters were asked the first word that came to mind when they think of Mr. Trump, “idiot” was number one. And his habit of gushing over the alleged “smarts” of despots like Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin has turned the term toxic.
How about another favorite Trumpism, “great,” as in “together we will make America great again”?
That recycled Reagan-era catch phrase worked “great” – if you will – for candidate Trump. But just as President Obama’s repeated invocation of “hope” turned sour to the ears of Americans who didn’t prosper under him, President Trump may have overplayed that rhetorical hand.
Discussing the GOP tax plan the other day, he used the term three times in barely a minute: “This will be great for jobs… This is going to be one of the great Christmas gifts to middle-income people… You’re going to see some numbers that are great.”
Since the majority aren’t buying it yet, maybe it’s better to let performance take over from promises.
A couple more:
“They have phony witch hunts going against me,” the president is fond of saying of the Russia investigation. “Phony” is a loaded word given how “liar” was the second-most popular word for the president in that Quinnipiac poll.
And instead of calling opponents “lightweights” all the time, as he did recently with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, why not cool the trash-talking and let the public decide who the heavyweights are, based on results?