Tuesday, February 13, 2018


February 13, 2018

 Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Language

As one of my friends was saying recently, language matters. Words matter. Your president’s recent comments on the spousal abuse affair speak loudly as to his concern for the victimizer over the victim, the male over the female. They speak loudly as to his lack of concern for matters of national security, when it comes to his own team. So many in the White House, even key staff members—even his own son-in-law!—lack the proper security clearance. He was loud enough in his choice of words on this subject for his Democratic rival in 2016. But now?

But I started out to write about his budget announcement yesterday. Admittedly, I was unable to pay undivided attention—I happened to be on the elliptical walker at the gym—but I was frankly appalled by both the content of his comments and by the language he deployed to communicate it. The truth is, language and content are inseparable. You cannot convey complex, subtle ideas in impoverished language. You cannot even conceive of such an idea without the words and syntax in which to formulate them.

Trump lacks both words and syntax. His language is basic, primitive, ego-based. He spoke of his “great”—and to my mind quite unnecessary—restoration of the military; of the “great” infrastructure that would result from his paltry $200 billion in federal money (to be supplemented, magically, to the tune of $1.5 trillion by state and private contributions). The whole presentation was, to my mind, simplistic, predictable and calculated mainly to boost the ego of the deliverer—not to mention his financial interests. He is, after all, as he once more repeatedly affirmed in yesterday’s announcement, a “great” builder.

Honestly, Congressman, I despair of any significant progress for this country while that man occupies the Oval Office. His language confirms what his general behavior suggests: he remains, emotionally and intellectually, a child. Does it not feel somehow shameful to keep supporting him as you do?


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Beautifully written and certainly with a more extensive vocabulary than our president possesses.



June 9, 2018 Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, 101 Main Street #380 Huntington Beach, CA 92648 Dear Congressman, You may be surprise...