Donald Trump

Trump Imitates King Joffrey From "Game of Thrones"

His angry insistence that "I'm the President of the United States!" is reminiscent of Joffrey's famous similar statement: "I am the King!"


Jack Gleeson as King Joffrey in Game of Thrones (HBO).


In a recent outburst at a reporter who asked a question he didn't like, President Trump angrily insisted that "I'm the President of the United States! Don't ever talk to the president that way!" This is far from the worst Trump temper tantrum. But it caught my eye because of the similarity to a famous scene in Season 3 of Game of Thrones where King Joffrey throws a very similar tantrum and insists "I am the king!" As Joffrey's grandfather Lord Tywin points out in response, "any man who must say 'I am the king' is no true king." He then makes Joffrey go to bed.


Joffrey's cruelty and total lack of self-control have often been analogized to Trump's similar qualities, including by George R.R. Martin, author of the books on which the TV series is based, who noted that "they have the same level of emotional maturity."

Trump is not the only politician who inspires Game of Thrones analogies. Last year, I critiqued Sen. Elizabeth Warren's article praising Daenerys Targaryen and trying to analogize parts of her own political agenda to that of the Dragon Queen. Warren's attempt to claim the mantle of Dragon Queen became even more problematic after what the latter did in episodes that aired a few weeks after the article was published (though, in my view, this plot twist was badly flawed).

Sadly, life imitates Game of Thrones all too often. Though they differ in various other ways, one thing Joffrey, Trump, Daenerys, and Warren all have in common is an aversion to structural limits on government power—especially when they themselves are the ones wielding it.

NEXT: Short Circuit: A Roundup of Recent Federal Court Decisions

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. There’s that intellectual rigor we’ve all come to expect.

    1. Yeah. I’ve read Eugene’s blog from the beginning. I’m just about done checking in now that Somin keeps posting whatever he hears shouted on CNN.

      Maybe he’s making himself appealing as an on-air replacement for Toobin after his ‘incident.’

      1. I check this site almost daily and have done so for years.
        But it is becoming something political. Eugene take back your site’s independence and non political orientation!

        1. Yup. I don’t mean to be harsh, but Somin’s only contribution here is showing what a CNN Libertarian sounds like.

          The White House press have used tactics against Trump typically only deployed by cults (e.g, Scientologists) against their enemies.

          Characters like Somin endorse this behavior because they resent the man. Let’s just say that a real POTUS who regularly subjected himself to a implacably hostile press makes Somin feel bad about himself.

    2. Ilya,
      Looked at your profile on George Mason’s site. Very nice picture by the way.
      I understand where you are coming from and your likeness to Joffrey is not to be dismissed. The satire is not lost on me.

  2. Ilya this post sounds stupid, and serves no purpose except to express your hate and contempt for half our nation.

    1. Indeed.

      Also, President Trump’s statement is objectively TRUE, and will remain so at least until 20 Jan 2021…. He is your President.

      1. And we can talk to him as we wish. Vainglorious, vulgar, reckless, boorish, ignorant, illiterate, selfish, foolhardy . . . a failed silver-spooner who will be reviled by decent Americans until his replacement occurs.

        And we can observe that his supporters are nothing more than half-educated bigots, anti-social hayseeds, superstitious dullards, valueless clingers . . . and vanquished, inconsequential, lifetime losers in modern America.

        Carry on, clingers . . . enjoy the remainder of the American culture war . . . although try not to provoke your betters, lest they become less magnanimous in victory.

        1. ‘ Vainglorious, vulgar, reckless, boorish, ignorant, illiterate, selfish, foolhardy . . . a failed silver-spooner who will be reviled by decent Americans.’ Ye gods Kirkland, you could be writing about yourself.

    2. The foreign troll who incessantly expresses his hatred of lawyers, judges, and everything else he can translate via google acting like he’s against hate and contempt.


      1. Hi, Jason. Obviously, not a lawyer. Have a blessed day, Sir.

  3. Good grief. There’s no upper bound on the viciousness of the left regarding Trump. A first page headline this morning mocked Trump for using a small table instead of a big desk to hold a video press conference.

    Imagine the outrage if the right posted comparisons between Obama and Kingfisher from Amos and Andy, or sticking to Game of Thrones: compare Bill Clinton to Lord Baelish and compare Hillary Clinton to Cersei Lannister.

    Let’s see how far the right goes attacking Biden in the next four years.

    1. Please, do not impeach Biden. Stop this stupid cycle.

      1. Impeach Harris first, then Biden?

        I’d just as soon they all got impeached on day one. Might make a few politicians more reluctant to run for office.

        1. You’d prefer President Pelosi?

          1. As I said, I’d prefer if they were ALL impeached on day one.

        2. You’ll do as your are told by your betters, clinger.

          You can rant about it as much as you wish, but consequent to losing the culture war, you will continue to comply.

          1. This is just an intellectual conversation on problems of the day. Don’t get yourself so upset.

    2. Yes, thank goodness no one on the right ever made fun of Obama, Clinton, or their respective families.

      1. Yeah, that was one of the most (unintentionally??) ironic observations in the past many months. Proof that America’s collective memory is actually very short.

        “But we treated Obama and Hillary so civilly.” is one of those jaw-dropping claims . . . I wish there were an easy way to put a “sticky” on it, for later use. 🙂

        1. I’m pretty sure we didn’t riot at his inauguration, for starters.

    3. You never saw anything like that? I guess you wouldn’t if you stick with the Fox/OANN/Infowars bubble.

      1. You think the only way to avoid stupid criticism of Democrats from the media is to only consume those sources. That’s… Special

  4. Gee, I had thought that I had already heard every silly cheap shot that could conceivably be taken at Donald Trump, and I certainly didn’t expect to find yet another one on this site. What’s next? Comparisons to comic book villains, the Big Bad Wolf, Freddie Kruger?

    1. The post is one of Ilya’s usual hate-o-grams

      1. Soon, it will be time for appropriate institutions to stop mocking Trump and begin arranging his prosecutions and bankruptcies.

        Until then, though, the mocking and scorn are appropriate.

        Right-wingers can whimper about it as much as they wish, of course.

    2. At least it wasn’t Voldemort. For a long time, that was the only fictional villain that these silly people come bring to mind.

    3. Don’t worry, the MSM has already done stupider than Somin: one of the online ‘papers’ had an article about Trump missing a putt while golfing.

      Pulitzer Prize material, there.

  5. Somin, you dumbass, who do think is President until noon on 21 January 2021?

    1. The post was about his emotional maturity and that respect is, ultimately, earned and, in Trump’s case, lost. He’s an emotional child. Admit that, and then let’s have a conversation about whether that matters. (Spoiler alert: I believe it very much does.)

    2. Um, do you not understand the reference? Tywin was not claiming that Joffrey was not in fact the king.

  6. I caught that too … but to be fair, President Trumps outburst felt warranted in this case. It is true that everything Trump was saying was complete and utter bullshit. But reporters ought to act questions in a fair manner, and not continually interrupt and contradict the president while he is speaking. The reporters have every right to debunk the president in writing later. They are there to get what he is saying.

    Like seriously, what do you accomplish by contradicting the president while he is speaking? It is not like someone who believes the president is like, oh I thought he was right but this reporter rudely interrupted me so … and you just feed into a narrative where it does seem the media is attacking the president and has dropped all pretense of objectivity. Just debunk his statements later.

    A lot of journalists interview actual tyrants and dictators, and none of them engage in that. I dont see any reporter interupting Putin right? Or Assad? There was a way to deal with these people. There was immaturity on behalf of those reporters too, which was very evident. The fact that Trump is lying doesn’t make it the time or place to correct him.

    As I recall, Cuomo had a similar outburst a few days back and I’ll make the same argument for him.

    At the very least, Biden telling Trump to shut up was a very similar thing.

    1. “The fact that Trump is lying doesn’t make it the time or place to correct him.”

      Your whining is entertaining. Please continue . . .

      1. Look, man, I’m not sure what you think you are accomplishing by spending all your time trolling and insulting various people here. Get a job or a hobby. If you actually had anything productive to say you would say it, instead you just insult peoples religion or beliefs with the exact same lines over and over again. And you think your better than most Trump supporters are. I think that’s hilarious.

        1. Aladdin,
          I tend to agree with your main point. It would carry more weight with me if Trump and his administration had the guts and the integrity and the character to actually still have press conferences and to give the press meaningful opportunities to ask questions. I think that ANY president who refuses to do this is un-American. So, if the press have no real ongoing chances to ask questions, *of course* they will shout out questions…even when it’s not strictly appropriate.

          Trump’s gutless and sniveling cowardice has not helped this situation, and has certainly (IMO) added to its worsening. So, my agreement with you is tempered by this fact.

          1. President Trumps access granted to the press will go down in history as the most available President ever.

            1. iow,
              I don’t know what you’re smoking. But I want some of it.

              1. Giving the press access isn’t the same as them reporting what they had access to, unfortunately. That’s likely the cause of your confusion.

          2. What do you call this?

            I’d be more impressed with the press if they had the guts, integrity, and character to not act as though they were paid agents of the DNC. But that ship sailed several years ago.

        2. Never reply to a troll, it only feeds their sense of self-righteousness. Every time you show your irritation they count another coup.

    2. As a group,class of people, reporters are the last to think they are owed respect, just because they call themselves “reporters. This is the opinion of the Obama White House. Not the Trump White House.

      “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” Rhodes says. “They literally know nothing.” Then there are others his assistant Ned Price refers to as “force multipliers,” more senior reporters and pundits who parrot what they’re told.

    3. They are there to get what he is saying.

      I think you are confusing reporters with microphones.

    4. At the very least, Biden telling Trump to shut up was a very similar thing.

      You were doing so well. At least making reasonable, if not indisputable, points. But then that.

      Was your point that Biden should have been deferential to Trump? That’s stupid, so probably not that.

      Was your point that Biden was wrong to tell Trump to shut up? So, Biden is Trump in this example, because Trump (reporters) were interrupting and trying to real-time fact check Biden (Trump). So, instead, you probably think both were justified.

      But the two situations weren’t the same. Biden didn’t shout out “but I’m a [pick one: Presidential candidate, an ex-Senator, a former Vice President], you shouldn’t talk over me like that, my title warrants respect” which would have been whiny and pathetic (notwithstanding, it’s sorta true, as you point out vis a vis Trump). The salient fact was, Trump relied on “I’m the President” for why you shouldn’t talk to him like that, instead of just, “You’re being rude. Stop it.” Of course, I am sure his supporters will say that, essentially, is what he was trying to say, but bringing his title into it does reveal what he’s thinking, what makes the reporter’s question rude (because Trump is routinely rude, and never stops and says, oh, I’m President, I shouldn’t act like that) and what he thinks being President is about. Which he has made clear many other times, so this is kind of exhibit 53,632, but still.

      It was a scene somewhat reminiscent of Joffrey and, if you acknowledge Trump’s emotional maturity, it stands out. Whether it warrants a post? Well, someone has to try to balance the execrable Josh B.

  7. I think Trump is more like Dr. Doom from the Fantastic Four.

    1. In what way(s)???

      1. OK, then, Boris of Boris and Natasha.

        1. Anyway, someone really mean.

          Maybe Hitler?

  8. This is great stuff. I have always known those claiming to be my moral and intellectual betters were delusional. But now we have one that admits his world view is informed by fantasy. And not the classics, but mediocre schtick created by the vapid minds that define Hollywood.

    1. The reference is so last year too, all the cool kids use “The Mandalorian” references now.

      This post is not the way.

      1. When do they release Teenage Yoda?

        “Understand me you do not. To my room I shall go. A Force-wedgie I shall give you.”

    2. Could be worse. The world view of some is informed by the novels of Ayn Rand.

      1. Ouch. A fair (and funny [or is it sad?]) point.

        1. Sad and funny. In an infinite alternating sequence.

  9. The last days of the Trump presidency are reminding me of the last days of the Nixon presidency (yes, I’m that old).

    1. One difference: Nixon wasn’t destined for jail and bankruptcy.

  10. A mature person, the kind Prof. Somin admires, would respond, “I’ll bet my IQ is higher than yours. Do you want to have a pushup contest?”

  11. About a year after President Trump took office I had a conversation with someone who was used to me agreeing with them on political (and many other) topics. Our conversations often enough stumbled into Game of Thrones analogies. The middle of this conversation went about like…

    Them: I see President Trump as Ned Stark.
    Me: RUFKM!?
    Them: No. Why, you don’t?
    Me: I think Joffrey is the far better compare.
    Them: Really?
    Me: Yes. And if you disagree with me you’re misremembering the characters’ names.
    Them: What about Tywin Lannister.
    Me: Joffrey.

  12. Man, talk about sore winners.

    Sorry Ilya, he IS President, at least until January 20th, 2021. Go criticize him for something where he isn’t pointing out the truth.

    1. Sigh. What a dumb response. Joffrey was king, too. That wasn’t the point of the observation.

      1. No, the point was to be a sore winner.

  13. Anyone still coming here for insightful commentary? Because I think the last bus just left.

  14. As this is a site for lawyers, I am amazed the contributor doesn’t realize that uncivil behavior is not acceptable in certain forums. Perhaps he should try this type of attitude/conduct in a courtroom. Judges usually don’t tolerate much in their houses either.

    But for IS, every column can be summed up as “bad orange man.” Pls, for the new year, can he post instead on Huffington or Vox, maybe CNN.

Please to post comments