British comedian John Oliver is attempting to change the Trump narrative by asking America to disassociate the GOP frontrunner from the “Trump brand” and adopt the family’s original surname: Drumpf.
He even introduced a hashtag, #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain – a play on Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” – to spread his message virally on social media. It worked. Since the segment aired on Sunday night, the hashtag has been used over 1,500 times on Twitter. Oliver has also launched a website from which one can download an extension to replace “Trump” with “Drumpf” wherever it appears on a web browser.
— Mischa Heuer (@mischaheuer) March 1, 2016
Oliver took on Donald Trump with a scathing segment on his satirical news show Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, systematically picking apart and knocking down a number of claims made by Trump supporters. He admitted that Trump was “unpredictable and entertaining”, but that the joke had gone on too long.
“Donald Trump is America’s back mole. It may have seem harmless a year ago, but now that it’s gotten frighteningly bigger, it’s not longer wise to ignore it,” he said.
After showing clips of Trump supporters explaining why they liked Trump, Oliver proceeded to attack each of the Trump qualities named, which included Trump’s supposed straight-shooting and “telling it like it is”, the claim that he funds his own campaign, and that he’s an “incredible businessman.”
First to go was the real estate tycoon’s penchant for telling the truth. Oliver pointed to a Politifact study which analyzed Trump’s statements and found that a whopping 76 percent of them were false.
“I’m not even sure he knows he’s lying,” Oliver said. “I think he just doesn’t care about what the truth is. Donald Trump views the truth like this lemur views the Supreme Court vacancy.”
He then went on to disprove Trump’s proclamation that his campaign was self-funded, revealing that though Trump claims to have spent “20 to 25 million” of his own money, he had actually loaned $17.5 million to his campaign and received about $7.5 million in individual contributions.
“If you don’t think there’s a significant difference between a gift and a loan, try giving your spouse an anniversary loan, and see how that goes,” he quipped.
Oliver also attacked the belief that Trump is a savvy businessman. While Trump claims a personal worth of $10 billion today, Oliver cast doubt on the figure, noting that in a deposition during one of Trump’s lawsuits, when asked to estimate his worth, Trump had said that the number fluctuated based on “feelings, even my own feelings…and can change rapidly from day to day.”
“He claims that his net worth changes depending on his mood, which makes absolutely no sense, partly because he always seems to be in the same mood – specifically, smug, yet gassy,” said Oliver, to laughter from the audience.
Oliver also mentioned a number of Trump’s failed business, including an airline, a line of vodka, several magazines, and a university. The worst offender, however, said Oliver, was Trump’s 2006 launch of a mortgage company – right before the collapse of America’s housing market.
The real reason behind Trump’s success in his campaign, posited Oliver, is his name. Trump “has spent decades turning his own name into a brand synonymous with success and quality and he’s made himself the mascot for that brand,” Oliver explained.
“If only there were a way to uncouple that magical word from the man he really is,” mused Oliver, before announcing, “Well, guess what – there is!”
He revealed that “Trump” was not the family’s original name, but, as one biographer found, an ancestor had changed it from “Drumpf.”
“And Drumpf is much less magical,” said Oliver. “It may seem weird to bring up his ancestral name, but to quote Donald Trump, he should be proud of his heritage! Because Drumpf is much more reflective of who he actually is.
“Tonight, I am asking America to make Donald Drumpf again. #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain,” announced Oliver, to wild applause.
“We cannot keep getting blinded by the magic of his name. We need to look at him through fresh eyes,” he concluded.
Social media users jumped immediately on the new hashtag, tweeting quotes from the segment and sharing the 22-minute clip.
— Jamey Erickson (@JameyErickson) March 1, 2016
Whether Oliver’s takedown will have any influence remains to be seen when Super Tuesday’s votes are calculated tonight.