Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Philip Roth Calls Trump an Ignorant Con Man With ‘Vocabulary of 77 Words’

Novelist Philip Roth has lashed out at President Trump as an ignorant “con man” who could do untold damage to the country.

The retired “Portnoy’s Complaint” author told the New Yorker that Trump makes other polarizing Republicans like Richard Nixon and George W. Bush look angelic by comparison.

“Trump is ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, of art, incapable of expressing or recognizing subtlety or nuance, destitute of all decency,” Roth told the magazine in a string of emails. He “wield(s) a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better called Jerkish than English.”

The emails from the 83-year-old Roth came in response to uncanny parallels between the Trump’s win and his famous 2004 alternate history novel “The Plot Against America”, in which Charles Lindbergh takes over as president.

Roth insisted he never dreamt of the novel as being a warning about the rise of a Trump-like figure to the pinnacle of power.

“It isn’t Trump as a character, a human type—the real-estate type, the callow and callous killer capitalist—that outstrips the imagination,” he said “It is Trump as President of the United States.”

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    NY-12 Candidate Forum

    THE TEMPLE EMANU-EL STREICKER CENTER and Virtual

    Aug 10, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    Will the last Jew left in New York’s congressional delegation be reelected? Will New York’s senior congresswoman receive another term? Or will one of the newcomers upend Manhattan politics?

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit the Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, images, and credit to the Foward. Have questions? Please email us at editorial@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.