As a writer, I’m pretty fond of collecting interesting words and phrases, or even types of words and phrases. I can tell you my very favorite song lyrics of all time, my favorite poems, favorite retorts, favorite slogans and mottos, and I even have a favorite palindrome, which is a word, phrase, or number that reads the same forward and backward when you take out the punctuation: “A man, a plan, a canal — Panama.” (I’ll give you a second to read that backward)
My very favorite literary or grammatical thing to collect, though, is idioms. I love to see how the people of certain places say common things, and I love to discover the origins of phrases or words that make so much sense you want to kiss the inventors of them.
Today, my favorite is “Give him enough rope and he’ll hang himself.”
That seems to be the specialty of President Donald Trump, maybe not even just during his time in office, but for his whole life. In fact, he’s so likely to later say something that completely contradicts a previous position that he’s inspired a whole new idiom: “There’s always a tweet.” Any time Trump says something controversial it seemingly takes just moments before an eagle-eyed social media user finds an old tweet of his that says the exact opposite.
But why is the rope one my favorite today? Well, because Trump has a tendency to get a little too caught up in the role he’s playing, to the point that it becomes impossible to suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the show. And now that the election is getting down to the wire, Trump has to touch every base of his supporters, including the evangelical voters who basically put him in office. And Trump reaching out to the religious crowd is him at his most unbelievable, every single time.
Yesterday in Ohio, Trump tried to warn his Christian supporters that his opponent Joe Biden was a radical leftist who wanted to dismantle their religion:
Here’s Trump in Ohio claiming that Joe Biden is “against God.”
“No religion, no anything, hurt the Bible, hurt God. He’s against God,” Trump says. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/IwAjgbkEyB
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 6, 2020
The clip itself is ridiculous because there’s literally no one who follows politics at all who hasn’t seen Joe cite his faith as his source of comfort during multiple tragedies in his life, and because there’s literally no one who believes that Trump is a religious man himself
But in true “there’s always a tweet” fashion, his speech reminded me of that Bloomberg interview he did during the primary before he was elected. The interviewers asked him to name some favorite Bible verses, since he had so obviously been pandering to evangelicals even back then, and he bungled his way through a non-answer that concluded with his opinion that the Bible is very “special.”
We’ve been giving him rope since the day of this interview by pretending that we believed him about religion. See, Joe Biden’s been a practicing Catholic his entire life, which — perhaps you were unaware — has a whole process of confirmation, which involves a lot of memorization, not to mention how dependent on tradition and ritual Catholicism is. If you ask Joe anything about the Bible, you’re going to get something about the Bible and it will probably be a pretty decent answer.
I doubt Trump has spent any time memorizing anything.
By trying to compare his own (nonexistent) religious faith with Biden’s during the speech in Ohio, Trump has set himself up for a self-hanging on the campaign trail.
Like what you see here? Join the discussion on Facebook over at Americans For Sanity!