In a tweet, the president called NBC’s respected political journalist Chuck Todd “Sleepy Eyes.” This was obviously meant as an insult, since trump has previously used tiredness and sleepiness and looks as an attack. (We know that trump sleeps little himself, so that could be the reason for this pejorative, though we’ll have to leave this for the psychoanalysts who get paid to explore the quagmire of his brain.)
We’ve had some pretty nasty presidents, though they customarily kept the worst of their invective private because…they were president. Even if you don’t want to be popular, when you are on public display, you at least want to maintain the good opinion of those who place some value on civility.
We’ve also had dealings in our own lives with very rude people. Some we can’t avoid (bosses, coworkers, family), others we have as little to do with as possible, running the other way when we can.
We have never had a president this publicly rude, not even close. Hardly even a public figure this consistently rude.
Why isn’t the president’s rudeness a bigger deal? Because his other flaws, shortcomings and failures are so great that rudeness doesn’t even seem to make the list.
But it should be on the list. As we all know, constant exposure to rudeness takes its toll. It tends to make us a little rude sometimes too, or at least normalizes it. And when rude is normal, even admirable, we have a problem.