President Trump is a man containing multitudes. As such, the go-to method of explaining who he is and what makes him tick often involves metaphors.
Lots of metaphors.
One particular metaphor caught my eye this week. It was from a woman in Michigan who had voted for Barack Obama for president and then for Trump, and she offered it in a focus group conducted by GOP pollster Glen Bolger.
“Obama is more like your best friend who has parties and has Beyoncé over,” she said. “And then Trump is like your dad. He’s going to come whoop your ass because you didn’t do what you were supposed to do and get it done.”
So there you go.
It got me thinking: What are some of the best metaphors used to describe our president? Below is a list — some of them apt, some colorful and some just plain strange — that have been used over the past couple of years. Did I miss a good one? Email me here.
“It’s like an insomniac that’s rolling and saying whatever comes to mind,” Douglas Brinkley says of Trump on Morning Joe.
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) May 2, 2017
“He’s like Godzilla. Everything they throw at the monster makes him stronger.” — Bill Maher
A ’90s rapper:
The whole thing is here from the now-defunct “Nightly Show.” (Basically he likes gold, he has his own cologne and vodka, and he has lots of beefs.)
“Loud, arrogant, kind of corny. They both have catchphrases.” — comedian Hannibal Burress
A Batman villain:
“Is he like a Batman villain? In many ways he is. But our last guy in that office often reminded me of a Bond villain” — Batman writer and Trump voter Chuck Dixon
A carnival barker:
“We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.” — President Obama in 2011
The whole carnival:
“He is less the carnival barker than the full cast — the lion, the fire-eater, the clown with the seltzer — all trussed into a single-breasted Brioni suit.” — New Yorker’s Evan Osnos
A Geiger counter:
Maybe Trump is like a Geiger counter: The more noise he makes, the closer we’re getting to some big and radioactive truth. https://t.co/oVMpS0nBTL
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) February 25, 2017
A Navy SEAL:
“As somebody said to me yesterday, Donald Trump is like a Navy SEAL; he never backs down when he’s in a fight” — Fox News’s Steve Doocy
“Let no one be mistaken Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.” — Rick Perry (in 2015)
An autoimmune disease:
“ … The way this election is shaping up, the better analogy might be an autoimmune disease. Such illnesses result from our body’s natural defenses being marshalled against it with destructive results. Trump is exploiting our political immune system to the detriment and potentially grave peril of the republic. He’s taken what actually makes America great, the systems of government designed to foster public good — the courts, the press, our charity and financial systems — and used them for personal gain at the body politic’s expense.” — The Guardian’s Lucia Graves
A grilled cheese sandwich:
“I see a guy who seems to pause and dig for the more precise and better language he wants to use, and never finds it. It’s the same dish — it’s a grilled cheese sandwich rhetorically over and over again.” — Alec Baldwin
A serial killer (and the media is his prey):
SETH MEYERS: Yeah. It’s a weird dance. It’s like one of those movies where the serial killer is also clearly in love with the person who’s trying to arrest him.
RACHEL MADDOW: So you’re Clarice?
SETH MEYERS: Yeah, Clarice, yeah. The press is Clarice, and he’s Lecter. It’s like a cat and mouse game and like, he’s definitely gonna kill some other people, but maybe not me.
“It’s like a rattlesnake taking a path through the dirt, but suddenly he shows off his fangs, and you don’t expect that to happen with any of the others.” — New York Times columnist Frank Rich
A “wife who makes passionate love to you every day, seven days a week”:
“When you have a wife who makes passionate love to you every day, seven days a week, all men get up and smile my wife’s going to make love to me. When you have a wife who hates you and you sleep in opposite bedrooms, guess what? You wake up in a bad mood. So I’ve got a president who likes me now instead of one who hates me. Don’t you think it’s going to put me in a good mood and I’m going to want to hire people? Of course it does!” — former Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee Wayne Allyn Root
Your drunk uncle:
“He reminds me of, like, your drunk uncle at a wedding who gets up and starts talking and just loves the crowd and just goes on and on and on and says whatever he can to get a reaction.” — Susan Sarandon
“The ego here is — well it’s something. By the way, his teeth come out like it’s simian almost. It’s simian, like a monkey banging with a stick. You know, ‘I’m the biggest. I’m the biggest.’ Pounding his chest. It does have a simian quality to it, I mean primordial, I should say.” — MSNBC host Chris Matthews
A game show host:
“He came out of reality show television. He’s like a game show person. There’s no truth to it. There’s no center to it. … With him, there’s no beef there, there’s no protein, there’s no center.” — Richard Gere
A Real Housewife:
Sweetie you are a first season Real Housewife making stuff up to stay on the show. https://t.co/nwHCj87vrE
— Andy Cohen (@Andy) March 20, 2017
.@realDonaldTrump has his tagline! it’s official, he’s a Real Housewife: “I can’t be doing so badly because I’m President and you’re not”
— Andy Cohen (@Andy) March 23, 2017
A quarterback calling audibles:
“It’s like running audibles at the line of scrimmage. What’s in his playbook? I’m sitting back watching y’all. I don’t want to offend nobody and say the nothing the wrong way, but at the same time I’m confused.” — Snoop Dogg
A random impulse generator:
“He’s so unpredictable. He’s so mercurial. You know, I would be no more surprised if he stood up there and declared amnesty for all illegal immigrants to the United States than if he said he was going to take them all out to be shot. He’s like a random impulse generator.” — Michael Chabon
A fall breeze:
“Like a brisk fall breeze through Amarillo’s trees, President Donald Trump’s first few weeks have brought forth all the country’s loose and flaky elements.” — Letter writer in the Amarillo Globe-News