Have you heard of the 'Foot in Mouth Award'? It is awarded by the Plain English Campaign for "a baffling comment by a public figure." The award was first made in 1993, when it was given to Ted Dexter, the chairman of selectors for the England cricket team. Politicians have been recipients of the award more times than any other group of people. The list includes some familiar names. Here is a sample:
Alicia Silverstone - The American actress, star of Clueless, was awarded in 2000 for her comment: "I think that Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."
Richard Gere - The American actor was presented with the award in 2002 for his philosophical comment: "I know who I am. No one else knows who I am. If I was a giraffe and somebody said I was a snake, I'd think 'No, actually I am a giraffe."
Boris Johnson - He is a regular contender for the prize. He won in 2004 for his comment: "I could not fail to disagree with you less." His second win in 2016 was secured by the unsinkable: "Brexit means Brexit and we’re going to make a Titanic success of it."
Naomi Campbell - The English supermodel picked up the award in 2006 for saying, "I love England, especially the food. There's nothing I like more than a lovely bowl of pasta."
George W. Bush - Bush's award was made during his final year in office as President of the United States (2008). Entitled a "Lifetime Achievement Award", it was given not for a single quote, but for his continued "services to gobbledygook". His gaffes were described as covering a large number of topics, and included comments such as "I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe – I believe what I believe is right", and, "I hope you leave here and walk out and say, 'what did he say?'"
Silvio Berlusconi - The former Italian Prime Minister received the award in 2011 for comments such as "I am pretty often faithful", when talking about fidelity in 2006, and describing Barack Obama in 2008 as being "Handsome, young and also suntanned".
Mitt Romney - U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney received the award in 2012 for making gaffes like: "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me" and "I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love."
Donald Trump - He was at the time of the award (2015) campaigning for the Republican nomination in the 2016 US presidential election. The Plain English Campaign said that Trump was "unrivalled". In particular the campaign cited his remarks on Mexican immigrants: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." It also cited his remarks on John McCain: "He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured."
(I heard that every Republican president makes you nostalgic about the previous Republican president. Trump made you feel that Bush was a wise, compassionate guy with a nice sense of humor. Can you imagine a time when you will be nostalgic about Trump? Maybe Trump II?)