Breaking News Emails
Donald Trump's tendency to use derogatory nicknames to put down his political adversaries has not subsided since his election as president, as evidenced by latest "Fake Tears" attack on Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer.
In an early morning tweet mocking Monday night's protest led by Democratic lawmakers on the steps of the Supreme Court against his controversial travel ban placed on seven Muslim-majority countries, President Trump singled out House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Schumer, calling him "Fake Tears."
That "nickname" was a reference to a press conference Schumer held on Sunday in reaction to the fallout from the immigration directive, which critics consider a "Muslim ban" by another name. An emotional Schumer said at the time, "This executive order was mean-spirited and un-American," and while fighting back tears he added, "It was implemented in a way that created chaos and confusion across the country."
Hundreds of legal U.S. residents have been detained, in some cases for several hours, as a result of the Trump order, as officials tried to grabbed with how to enforce it and its meaning.
But Trump, who has argued that the travel ban has worked out "very nicely," has instead fixated on Schumer's display of emotion, first mentioning it in passing in a tweet on Monday:
He later went so far as to question to veracity of Schumer's tears at a meeting of business leaders at the White House on Monday. “I noticed Chuck Schumer yesterday with fake tears,” Trump told reporters. “I'm going to ask him who is his acting coach.”
“There’s about a 5 percent chance it was real,” the president added.
Curiously, Trump has weighed in on the authenticity of other politicians' displays of emotion in public in the past. For instance, when former President Barack Obama wept over inaction on gun control during a press conference in January of last year, his eventual successor conceded, "I actually think he was sincere," in a Fox News phone interview.
Meanwhile, his characterization of Schumer as "Fake Tears" continues a tactic Trump deployed frequently during the 2016 GOP nomination fight and later in general election campaign.
Sen. Marco Rubio became "Little Marco." Sen. Ted Cruz became "Lyin' Ted." Sen. Bernie Sanders was christened "Crazy Bernie." Hillary Clinton was infamously labeled "Crooked Hillary."
Although some have criticized this method of political attack as beneath the presidency in the past, it clearly has proven to be an effective tool for Trump — at least among his supporters — some of whom have seized onto the "Fake Tears" moniker and have been using it as a hashtag for social media posts critical of the Democratic leader:
On other hand, progressives have pointed out the irony of Trump questioning the sincerity of someone who lost several relatives in the Holocaust when it comes to the issue of religious persecution:
As for Schumer, he has not directly responded to Trump's personal insults, but he has taken a more hardline approach in opposition to his administration.
He also cheered on the defiance of ousted acting attorney general Sally Yates (who he has called a "person of great integrity") and said that the travel ban and its roll out have been "a poor reflection on President Trump and his entire administration."