Going from a President who was once the head of the Harvard Law Review to a President with an extremely limited vocabulary that mostly consists of words common to junior high school taunts is like roaring down the highway at eighty-miles-an-hour and then suddenly shifting into first gear. The jolt to the national psyche is roughly the equivalent of flying through a windshield.
I find myself cringing when Trump speaks, and the reason goes far beyond the bizarre and hateful things he says. I am uncomfortable with how he says them. The current President is by far the most awkward and least skilled speaker to ever occupy the White House, more so than even the misunderestimated George W. Bush.
There are those who believe that Trump, with his fancy private school education, has the ability to communicate on a higher level, but that he intentionally chooses to talk like a backwoods meth dealer because that is the language of his supporters. He uses simple words, often repetitively, and salts his spew up with crass vulgarities because he wants his base to hear and understand him. He is not trying to engage with the educated elements of society
Those who believe that Trump's dumbassery is calculated would argue that he is crazy like a fox.
Others, of course, believe that his vocabulary skills failed to develop because Trump never really engaged in educational endeavors and he apparently is not a reader. They would presuppose that he was born with the ability to learn, but his privileged upbringing led him off in other directions. One of my favorite authors, Philip Roth, is of that mind. Roth, in a recent piece in The New Yorker, makes the case that Trump's suffering syntax isn't a calculated effort to speak the language of his supporters, but is, rather, prima facie evidence that he is just dumb.
The following is a Roth quote from that New Yorker article that is currently being bandied about the Internet:
"I found much that was alarming about being a citizen during the tenures of Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. But, whatever I may have seen as their limitations of character or intellect, neither was anything like as humanly impoverished as Trump is: ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, or art, incapable of expressing or recognizing subtlety or nuance, destitute of all decency, and wielding a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better called Jerkish than English.”
A jerk speaking jerkish. Yup, that about nails it!