“MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, AGAIN! LAUNCHES,” it declared.
Then I read the release. And it became clear it wasn’t a joke.
What it was — and is — is a new super PAC affiliated with the former President. Known, hilariously, as “MAGA, Again!”, the super PAC will take the place of the less repetitively-named Make America Great Again Action as the official super PAC of Trump. (The $5.6 million the previous committee had in the bank will be transferred — presumably only once — to Make America Great Again, Again!)
“We look forward to building on the success of MAGA Action with our new committee, Make America Great Again, Again!” Pam Bondi, a former attorney general of Florida, said of the new group. “We are thrilled to continue to support America First candidates in the midterms and beyond.”
The change of name was driven by a desire by Trumpworld to end all association with Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s one-time campaign manager, who was running the previous PAC but has been accused of unwanted sexual advances by a Republican donor.
The thing I can’t get over though is the name. In the near-limitless world of language, the Trump folks settled on Make America Great Again, Again? Out of the five words of the PAC, they decided it would be good if they used the same word twice? And back to back? Creativity anyone?
(Sidebar: There was once a band named “Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.” As one of the band members explained: “The name for us was just a way to identify our crazy new project that had no limitations.” They have subsequently changed their named to “JR JR.”)
The origin story of “Make America Great Again” is the stuff of legend in the world of Trump. According to his telling, he came up with the slogan on the day after Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential race to President Barack Obama. Convinced that the time had finally come for him to run for president, Trump began throwing out slogans that he could use to punctuate a campaign, according to the Washington Post.
“And then, it hit him: ‘Make America Great Again.’
“I said, ‘That is so good.’ I wrote it down,” Trump recalled in an interview. “I went to my lawyers. I have a lot of lawyers in-house. We have many lawyers. I have got guys that handle this stuff. I said, ‘See if you can have this registered and trademarked.’
“Five days later, Trump signed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in which he asked for exclusive rights to use ‘Make America Great Again’ for ‘political action committee services, namely, promoting public awareness of political issues and fundraising in the field of politics.’ He enclosed a $325 registration fee.”
By 2018, Trump was looking for his next mantra. “We can’t say ‘Make America Great Again,’ because I already did that,” Trump told a crowd in Pennsylvania in March 2018. “Our new slogan when we start running in, can you believe it, two years from now, is going to be ‘Keep America Great!’ ”
Throughout the 2020 campaign, Trump openly wondered about whether he should keep the MAGA slogan or update it to “Keep America Great.” As Politico wrote of his 2020 announcement speech:
“Speaking in Orlando, Florida, Trump issued a common refrain for his rallies and asked the audience of supporters which slogan it preferred: the classic ‘Make America Great Again’ or the more recent ‘Keep America Great.’
“When he announced the latter, the audience exploded in screams, prompting the president to cover his ears, before the arena burst into chants of ‘USA! USA! USA!’
“‘Wow, I’m sorry, MAGA country,’ Trump said. ‘That wasn’t too close.'”
One wonders what the former president, forever obsessed with branding and language, makes of MAGAA or Make America Great Again, Again! Or if he was consulted on the name. And, if so, why the heck didn’t he (or they) come up with something, well, better?