I was drawn to the expression, “presidential president” appearing in Washington Post’s (August 12) article titled, “What a presidential president would have said about Charlottesville.” It follows:
“Here is what President Trump said Saturday about the violence in Charlottesville sparked by a demonstration of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides. Here is what a presidential president would have said: “The violence Friday and Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., is a tragedy and an unacceptable, impermissible assault on American values. It is an assault, specifically, on the ideals we cherish most in a pluralistic democracy — tolerance, peaceable coexistence and diversity. ….
Of course, I've heard expressions such as Presidential candidate, Presidential campaign, Presidential speech "Presidential agendas," and "Presidential advisor" to be sick 'n' tired, but I don’t think I’ve heard such a usage as “presidential president” very often.
Mr. Trump is a legitimate president apart from potential criticisms. Why does it need to be “presidential president.”?
- Does “presidential president” mean a desirable / ideal /president-like president? Is it a common expression?
- Do you say 'vice presidential vice-president, 'chairpersonal chairparson,'directorial director,' 'managerial manager, 'doctoral doctor,''paternal father, maternal mother,' 'childish child,' and likewise?
In response to some of community members' behest to include the research I’ve done for this post, the followings are what I did and found before posting this question.:
I checked: Readers English Japanese Dictionary published by a Japan’s leading English dictionary specialist publisher, Kenkyu-sha Publishing (2nd Ed), Oxford Advanced Learners English Dictionary (2000), Oxford Concise English Dictionary (10th Ed.), Oxford American Dictionary (1980), and Collins Cobuild English Dictionary (2003 New Ed.) all at hand.
Being an octogenarian, I admit all English dictionaries I had bought and presently own are pretty or very old as I am. I bought most of them before retiring more than 20 years ago.
Readers English Japanese Dictionary defines ‘presidential’ simply as ‘of president.’
OAELD shows it only as an adjective, without definition.
OCD shows ‘presidential’ as an adjective, derivative of president, without giving its meaning.
Oxford American Dictionary shows ‘presidential’ as an adjective of ‘president’ without showing its meaning.
Collins Cobuild English Dictionary defines ‘presidential’ as presidential activities or things relate or belong to president. ex. Peru’s presidential election.
The above results resonate the comments of some users that they have hardly, or never heard of the usage of 'presidential' made in the manner of the above quote. I noted even a respectable answerer, J.R says he 'hasn't seen the phrase "presidential president" very often, either,' much less for an old non-native English speaker like me who've never resided in any of English-speaking countries even only for a short period.
After posting this question, I checked online Oxford Dictionary (ODO) though it was a kind of after-thought, and I found that it provides the second definition of 'presidential as: “Having a behavior or demeanor befitting a president. Dignified and confident,” as I stated in my comment in response to @Clare’s comment.