When Donald Trump first went after Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) last summer, the president called the Democratic congressman "Sleazy" Adam Schiff. That taunt gave way to "Liddle" Adam Schiff, and later "Phony" Adam Schiff.
The California lawmaker, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, eventually responded, in a message to Trump, "Surely you know the key to a good playground nickname is consistency. I thought you were supposed to be good at this."
Alas, the president isn't good at this, and his bullying has gotten lazy. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was labeled "Dicky Durbin." Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was called, simply, "Flake Jeff Flake," which is hardly the kind of name-calling one expects from someone who actually cares about name-calling.
At his campaign rally in Pittsburgh on Saturday night, the president seemed eager to dish out Trump-branded insults, calling Democratic congressional candidate Conor Lamb "Lamb the Sham," which at least rhymes. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) remains "Pocahontas," Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) was described as "a low-IQ individual" -- a line he also used at the Gridiron event last week, targeting the longtime lawmaker -- and NBC News' Chuck Todd was condemned as a "son of a bitch."
On that last point, Todd asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on "Meet the Press" yesterday about the president's antics. This exchange stood out for me:
TODD: I think you most recently appeared before [Maxine Waters'] committee. She's the Ranking Member on House Financial Services. If somebody on your staff referred to her that way in public, would that person still be on your staff?
MNUCHIN: Chuck, you know I've been with the president and at campaigns. You know he likes to put names on people. He did that throughout the entire presidential election. Including all of the Republicans that he beat. So these are campaign rally issues.
That's not much of an answer. Trump is, after all, supposed to be the president. Making public appearances and using vulgar, juvenile language because he "likes to" doesn't really answer the question. Obviously he "likes to" do this; the question is whether or not he should.
Besides, describing someone as "a low-IQ individual" isn't even an example of name-calling.