comScore It's Important to Refer to Donald Trump as "Former" President | The Mary Sue

Why It’s Important to Refer to Donald J. Trump as the “Former” President

He's the FORMER President of the United States. Deal with it.

Donald Trump gives a double thumbs up outside the White House with no mask on.

Former President Donald J. Trump has a fear of being called anything but the 45th President of the United States of America, and it shows. Trump’s lawyers, in letters to Congress, address the former President as “45th President of the United States.” They follow that up by signing their name above “Attorneys of the 45th President Donald J. Trump.”

His post-election team refers to him in the same manner on TV appearances and official statements. Now, technically, he is the 45th President. But he’s also the former 45th President, and the wording matters.

To think that this is meaningless semantics from the former President is ignoring his past of trying to control the narrative. Whether it be the election or who was responsible for the Capitol domestic terrorist attack, Trump has always had a hand in controlling what he perceived to be the truth. Making those around him address him as the “45th President of the United States” another small way for Trump to refuse to concede defeat—the very thing that led to the Capitol attack—despite the democratic process by the people and for the people.

Using “former” when addressing Donald J. Trump is a way of telling the world that his administration, and all the policies that came with it, are done and over with. That’s important for those that have had to suffer through his administration—those who were mocked, imprisoned, or shut down for merely speaking in opposition of any of the sexist, racist, or ableist language that the former President or his administration used.

Making sure to use “former” when addressing Donald J. Trump is also important because it’s a way of telling his followers and Republicans that Trump lost. A legit democratic process happened, was found to be just, and it’s time to move on to the Biden administration. If not, his followers will be stuck in an endless cycle where they will not believe that Trump lost because the man himself hasn’t admitted it in the language that he uses.

Words have power, and Trump knows this. And he’s trying to hold onto any power and momentum that he has gained in the past couple years as a means of grabbing onto more. That right there is dangerous because, if left unchecked, he could continue trying to subvert our democracy for his own needs and that of his party. And we’ve seen what happens throughout history when narcissists with delusions or grandeur are unhampered and let free.

The United States of America doesn’t need that, especially from a former President like Donald J. Trump.

(image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.