Donald Trump and the post-truth politics: a new presidential identity between sophistic and rhetoric.

The expression “post-truth” was widely used to describe the Donald Trump presidential campaign.

The Oxford Dictionary declared it to be the international word of the year for 2016 and defined it as a term related to “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.

Inventions and intuitions, fake news, likelihoods, reasonings not scientifically supported, slanders and hearsays served as background for the political ascent of the new American president and became patterns of a linguistic style markedly different from any other kind of “presidential” speech.

This work, moving from a rhetorical approach to the theme based on the opposition between truth and persuasion (Plato vs sophists), shows a textual and stylistic analysis of speeches, tweets and intervention of President Trump carried out by a qualitative method. The purpose is to identify linguistic strategies and expressive patterns which allow the strategical and persuasive use of the language itself. Rhetoric plays different roles: it presents positively the figure of “himself” and negatively the figure of “the other”; it focuses on ideologies and goals; it puts into practice idealistic ideas and defines specific political identities. These are the main goals of the speech and the rhetoric of the President in order to delegitimize the enemy by stressing the figure of a hero able to rid and save the world and by exercising the power of persuasion in which emotion, pathos and intuition impose a new approach opposed to a critical thinking and reasoning.


Permanent primary teacher with effect from September 2015; certified teacher of primary school thanks to the qualification obtained in 1999/2000; graduated in Arts magna cum laude at the University of Messina on 7 March 2016.




Nombre Adscripcion Procedencia
Lucia Elena D'Arrigo Universidad de Cordoba Italia