- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 17, 2017

You know you’ve run afoul of President Trump when he gives you a nickname.

The president’s latest: “Rocket Man,” which he bestowed Sunday on Kim Jong-un after the North Korean dictator conducted a missile test launch Friday, the second over Japan in the last month.

“I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!” said Mr. Trump on Twitter.

Not surprisingly, the tweet delighted Trump fans, who lauded the label with references and tributes to the 1972 Elton John hit “Rocket Man,” while Trump foes took offense on Mr. John’s behalf.

One of the top tweets came from Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, who riffed on the song’s lyrics with, “N Korea ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact, it’s cold as hell.”

“Rocket Man” may mark Mr. Trump’s first nickname for a world leader. Most of his labeling has come at the expense of his presidential race foes — see “Low Energy” Jeb Bush, “Little Marco” Rubio and “Crooked Hillary” Clinton.

Then there’s Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, known as both “Cryin’ Chuck” and “Fake Tears Chuck.”

Journalists haven’t been spared, either: NBC News host Chuck Todd has been described by Mr. Trump as “Sleepy Eyes” since at least 2012, as reported by Entertainment Weekly.

Mr. Trump’s approach represents the opposite of that of President George W. Bush, who gave out dozens of pet names for staffers, family, friends and foreign leaders.

In the vast majority of cases, Mr. Bush’s nicknames were affectionate, not insulting, although a few may have crossed the line. For example, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd was known as “The Cobra,” according to a list compiled on Wikipedia.

Mr. Trump’s propensity inspired his nemeses at “The Daily Show” to post “The Trump Nickname Generator,” allowing people to enter names and see which jabs appear. When it came to Mr. Kim, however, “The Daily Show” wasn’t even close. Instead of “Rocket Man,” the generator came up with “Doofy.”


• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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