What makes Donald Trump happy?

How Donald Trump manipulates his followers with language

If Donald Trump has something to say, his words will be heard - all over the world. During his four-year term in office, the Republican president used words as political weapons, especially on Twitter: he called his critics "losers" and "haters", the media was not even "mainstream", but directly "lamestream" (and "fake news") ), he called former employees like Foreign Secretary Rex Tillerson "lazy" and "stupid as a straw" on Twitter. He always praised himself for his high IQ, insulted his opponents, and incited his supporters by claiming in an endless loop that the election had been "stolen". Again and again he wrote in capital letters: "I WON THIS CHOICE!"

Even the language of Donald Trump shows how simple his worldview is: he and his followers are the good guys, everyone else is the bad guys. As with every populist, Donald Trump decides who belongs to the people: namely everyone who is for him. The elite, on the other hand, are all those who are against him, and they only want the people evil.

Trump as a linguistic arsonist

It is therefore hardly surprising that Donald Trump, at a rally on January 6, 2021, asked his supporters to march to the nearby Capitol. There the members of the Senate were about to confirm the election victory of Donald Trump's opponent, future US President Joe Biden. According to Donald Trump, it was the elites who stole the vote from the people.

Bérengère Viennot has dealt extensively with the linguistic peculiarities of the outgoing US President

"At this rally, it was the first time that his words, his call to violence, were not filtered through television or social media, but instead reached his followers directly," said Bérengère Viennot, translator and lecturer in Paris authored the book "The Language of Donald Trump". "Through his communication over the past four years, Donald Trump has prepared his followers for just such a moment. By his use of language, it was foreseeable that his followers would become violent."

Attack on the heart of democracy

Donald Trump's supporters took him at his word on January 6, 2021; they marched to the Capitol and stormed the building. The white building is the seat of the American Parliament; for American citizens, this building is the heart of their democracy. When Stephen Colbert, presenter of a popular late-night comedy show on CBS in New York, commented on the events at the Capitol the next day, he was for once not kidding: instead, he said that family members had given him a photo of the Capitol that day would have sent - with the message: "We just went by to make sure he was okay." He is fine, the rioters have withdrawn.

"The Language of Donald Trump" was published in French

Donald Trump's supporters couldn't stop the Senate from confirming Joe Biden's election victory. On the day of his inauguration, January 20, 2021, he will become the 46th President of the United States: Society in the United States is now looking to the future.

Joe Biden is forgiving

When future President Biden drops a tweet, he uses very different words than his predecessor. Ten days before his inauguration, he posted the following message on Twitter: "In ten days we will go into the future and rebuild our country - together." His language is forgiving. By "we" he refers to all American citizens. He never uses exclamation marks or capitalizes all the words in his tweets. "Joe Biden has to use such language in this crisis," says Bérengère Viennot. "It is expected of him, especially those citizens who are not extremists." But can words also heal, not just divide?

"In many ways Joe Biden's usage is pale," continues Bérengère Viennot. "There is a term for it in French 'wooden language 'when politicians want to reach as many people as possible without conveying content. That is what moderate citizens in the USA want: a neutral language that does not hurt anyone. "

"Racism is part of America"

However, Joe Biden doesn't just use neutral language either. For example, in a tweet he said he would focus on women and people of color as president. Linguistically it was neither emotional nor populist, no exclamation marks, no we against the. Nevertheless, Bérengère Viennot is critical of the content: "Some of the American citizens are racists, and this will not go away. Simply ignoring them will not help. But perhaps there is no language that makes everyone happy."

With all the language that is supposed to unite, action is also needed to preserve democracy in the United States. Only the future can tell whether Joe Biden, his government and American society will succeed. One thing is certain: the whole world is listening.