Democrats “have gone loco, they have gone loco,” President Trump told a crowd in Tennessee on October 1. He added, for the benefit of monolingual listeners: “They have gone crazy.” Earlier that day, at a White House press conference, he had used the same word to disparage another group on his enemies list:
“They’re loco,” he said of the media. “I use that word because of that fact that we made a trade deal with Mexico.”
Two days earlier, Trump had tested “loco” at a West Virginia rally, saying the Democratic Party was “so far left, Pocohantas” – his often-invoked slur for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren – “is considered conservative.” The Democrats “have gone crazy. They’ve gone loco.”
And on October 10 Trump wielded his new favorite adjective against the Federal Reserve Bank.
His full comment, in an interview with Fox News: “The Fed is going wild. I mean, I don’t know what their problem is that they are raising interest rates and it’s ridiculous. The Fed is going loco, and there’s no reason for them to do it. I’m not happy about it.”
Faster than a speeding locomotive, reporters were turning “loco” against its source. “Donald Trump’s Loco Attack on the Federal Reserve” was the headline on an article by staff writer John Cassidy in the New Yorker online. (Cassidy’s conclusion: “Rather than acting strategically and respecting an institutional setup that, generally speaking, has served the country well, [Trump] went loco.”) Washington Post opinion writer Catherine Rampell observed that “Trump’s arm-twisting of the Fed is what’s truly ‘loco’.”
That’s a lot of “loco” for a single fortnight, and the reasons for its sudden surge are unclear. Trump often has trouble stringing together a coherent sentence in his native English, and he has no history of demonstrating admiration for the Spanish language or its speakers. (In the only other example I can recall of his using Spanish, he called for deporting “bad hombres” during an October 2016 debate with Hillary Clinton. He mispronounced “hombres” as “hambres,” which means “hungers.”) Is Trump a fan of Marcelo “El Loco” Bialsa, the Argentine-born soccer coach now managing Leeds United? Doubtful. Was the recent Spanish incursion was influenced by “Loco,” a new track by Machine Gun Kelly released in August of this year?