Donald Trump says he doesn’t like the word ‘woke’ in latest jibe at rival Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump

Donald Trump, who has previously hit out at “left-wing gender insanity”, said during his latest campaign event that he doesn’t like the term “woke” because most people can’t define it. 

On Thursday (1 June), at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, Trump attacked trans rights stating that the “US had gotten sick” in reference to allowing children to align with their affirmed gender. 

Denouncing the word “woke” he said, as reported by the Huffington Post: “And I don’t like the term ‘woke,’ because I hear ‘woke, woke, woke.’

“You know, it’s like just a term that half the people can’t even define it. They don’t know what it is.”

During the UK’s local elections, the Conservative Party, who adopted the word “woke” to pedal a moral panic around trans rights, saw their plan of using “culture wars” and the “war on woke” to win votes lose them more than 1,000 seats. 

Trump isn’t the first to struggle with pinpointing the definition of the word ‘woke’.

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Right-wing author, Bethan Mandel, was asked to define the term in March this year, but despite dedicating an entire chapter of her book to the word, the question left her speechless.

She eventually stated: “It is the sort of understanding that we need to totally reimagine and reduce society in order to create hierarchies of oppression.” 

People online pointed out the term’s initial usage by Black Americans to signal the need for systemic change, until it was appropriated by right-wing and anti-LGBTQ+ activists.

Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on Ron DeSantis

Trump’s attack on the far-right’s current favourite word follows the former president hitting out at his top rival for the GOP presidential nomination, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who he blames for making Disney “a woke and disgusting shadow of its former self, with people actually hating it”. 

In late April, Disney launched legal action against DeSantis over his takeover of the park’s special district.

In his run for the 2024 presidential nomination, DeSantis – known for his reviled Don’t Say Gay law and his repeated attacks on the trans community – has sought to crack down on all things LGBTQ+ and ‘woke’ in the sunshine state.

The Florida governor has previously described the state as the place “where ‘woke’ goes to die” in a bid to garner support. 

During his New Hampshire campaign event on Thursday (1 June), DeSantis was interrupted by a woman who claimed her son’s murder is being covered up by the state.

The same event saw him snap at a reporter with “are you blind?” after they asked why he wasn’t taking questions from local voters. 

Trump, who rarely misses an opportunity to lash out at DeSantis, was quick to brand his main opponent “angry”. 

In his run for re-election as president in 2024, Trump has said he would ban gender-affirming care for minors.

The former president described gender-affirming care for minors as “an act of child abuse” before outlining his plan to stop “the chemical, physical and emotional mutilation of our youth”.