Trumped Up Charges

Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of these ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

Ire­cently came across a 2016 Youtube video by John Oliver, the Bri­tish co­me­dian/ satirist in which he un­leashed a scathing 22-minute-long cri­tique of Don­ald Trump, rip­ping apart Trump sup­port­ers' claims that he is hon­est and tough with ex­am­ple af­ter ex­am­ple of lies, pet­ti­ness, and whiny be­hav­iour from the then Repub­li­can fron­trun­ner. Oliver con­cluded that, in the face of so many facts that dis­prove the can­di­date's wor­thi­ness of sup­port, his ap­peal can be clocked up to brand­ing — the Trump name, ap­pear­ing on ev­ery­thing from build­ings to steaks, looks and sounds like suc­cess. In an ef­fort to "break the spell" of this brand­ing, Oliver dropped a bomb: Trump's fam­ily name was orig­i­nally "Drumpf," a de­cid­edly less pow­er­ful and im­pres­sive-sound­ing name.

Oliver isn't the first per­son to note that Trump's fam­ily name was once Drumpf. Jour­nal­ist Gwenda Blair wrote a book en­ti­tled The Trumps: Three Gen­er­a­tions That Built An

Em­pire, in which she stated that the name change of the fam­ily of wine­grow­ers oc­curred dur­ing the Thirty Years' War (1618 to 1648), ac­cord­ing to The Bos­ton Globe. But other me­dia out­lets re­ported a dif­fer­ent story. The In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness Times, for ex­am­ple, said that Trump's grand­fa­ther changed the name af­ter im­mi­grat­ing from Ger­many to Amer­ica in 1885.

Don­ald Trump's grand­fa­ther Friedrich Drumpf changed his name to Fred­er­ick Trump af­ter im­mi­grat­ing to Amer­ica, and an easy as­sump­tion would be that he wanted to Angli­cize the name. Many im­mi­grants did this over the cen­turies once ar­riv­ing for a num­ber

of rea­sons, from avoid­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion to as­sim­i­lat­ing more quickly to im­prov­ing their busi­ness prospects, re­ported The New York Times. And Trump is a very good name for busi­ness — not just be­cause it's easy to pro­nounce, but be­cause of how it strikes the ear and cer­tain con­no­ta­tions that come with it.

"Trump" is firm; it's punchy; it sounds pow­er­ful (con­trasted with "Drumpf," which is more like the sound a wet Whoopee cush­ion might make). It car­ries tones of strength and suc­cess; The Bos­ton Globe noted that the word "trump" is as­so­ci­ated with the sound of a trum­pet, and with cards that rank above all oth­ers in var­i­ous card games. And Don­ald Trump's con­stant ref­er­ence to his wealth and suc­cess cer­tainly bol­sters these as­so­ci­a­tions.

John Oliver, for his part, is hop­ing to break them by blow­ing up the "Drumpf" name. The Trump brand, with its bravado and its fear­less "say-any­thing" qual­ity, has cast a sort of spell over a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the Amer­i­can elec­torate. "I get that the char­ac­ter of Don­ald Trump is en­ter­tain­ing and that he says things that peo­ple want to hear. And I know his name is pow­er­ful . . . The very name Trump is the cor­ner­stone of his brand. If only there was a way to un­cou­ple that mag­i­cal word from the man he re­ally is," said Oliver.

And that's where Oliver's line of "Make Don­ald Drumpf Again" comes in. Drumpf is much more re­flec­tive of who he ac­tu­ally is, a liti­gious serial liar with a string of bro­ken busi­ness ven­tures and the sup­port of a for­mer Klan leader.

For my part, I'll rely on the dic­tionary def­i­ni­tion. “Trumped up” means “spu­ri­ously de­vised, fraud­u­lent or fab­ri­cated, which nicely sums up the whole clan of them.

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