When someone has irked you and you want to lash out at him, it is natural, apparently, to mock his looks. Donald Trump and Joe Biden have both exemplified this.
Last summer, Trump was doing one of his rallies, and it was interrupted by protesters. The crowd started chanting “U.S.A.!” “U.S.A.!” of course. Then Trump said — apparently referring to one of the protesters — “That guy’s got a serious weight problem. Go home. Start exercising.” Etc.
The guy was not a protester but a Trump man.
Here is a slice of the New York Times’s report:
The man with the “serious weight problem,” Frank Dawson, was standing in the arena near some protesters who were being ushered out. Mr. Dawson, donning his Trump gear, was fist-pumping the air as they were guided away.
Mr. Trump’s aides quickly realized the problem and tracked down Mr. Dawson’s contact information so the president could call him. From Air Force One, Mr. Trump left a voice mail message for Mr. Dawson, but did not apologize for his insult, an aide said, and instead said he did not mean to refer to him. The president then thanked Mr. Dawson for his support.
And Joe Biden? He got into a tussle with an Iowa voter yesterday. The voter said he knew negative stuff about Biden because he watched television. “I know you do,” said Biden, “that’s why you’re . . .” Then he stopped himself and continued, “I’m not sedentary, I get up and . . .” Then he veered off in another direction.
Toward the end of their exchange, Biden said, sort of absent-mindedly, “Look, fat . . .” His campaign later claimed he had said “fact” or “facts.”
For good measure, Biden challenged the fellow to an IQ test.
He has a history of this, Biden does. You remember the 1988 cycle? He said to a questioner, “I think I have a much higher IQ than you do.”
Donald Trump, of course, is the all-time champeen at invocation of IQ. Here is a classic tweet: “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure,it’s not your fault.”
About Mika Brzezinski: “low I.Q. Crazy Mika.” About Robert DeNiro: “a very Low IQ individual.” About Biden: “another low I.Q. individual!” Etc., etc.
Even Kim Jong-un got in on the act. After Biden called him a tyrant — which is the least you can say about Kim — Kim called him a “fool of low IQ” and also an “imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being.”
Trump obviously dug this. He tweeted, “North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Bidan a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?”
Some old-fashioned, elite types thought an American president should not be chortling with a North Korean dictator about the mental ability of an American former vice president. Others had a different view, naturally. Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said of Trump and Kim, “I think they agree in their assessment of former vice president Joe Biden.”
I have known some smart people in my life: Bill Buckley, Paul Johnson, and Michael Hersch, to name three. I’ve never heard any of them put down anyone on the basis of IQ. In fact, I’ve never heard any of them mention IQ, period.
Those who do? They tend to be mightily insecure about their own intelligence, in my observation.
If Trump and Biden never mentioned IQ or weight again for the rest of their lives, it would be too soon.