US President Donald Trump and his supporters have a new buzz phrase to diagnose his critics: "Trump Derangement Syndrome."

The term is supposed to describe voters who are so angry and opposed to the US President that they are incapable of seeing any good in what he does. "TDS" has popped up on Fox News in recent weeks and was cited by Senator Rand Paul, (R), in interviews this week before being used by the President himself on Twitter today.

His tweet: "Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It's called Trump Derangement Syndrome!"

It's the latest linguistics salvo by a president who fundamentally altered the definition of "fake news" and tries to discredit opponents of his Administration by pointing to the most extreme critiques.

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Trump today denied that Russia is still targeting the US, a claim sharply at odds with recent warnings from his top intelligence chief about ongoing threats to election security.

Trump was asked at the end of a Cabinet meeting if Russia was still targeting the US and answered "no" without elaborating.

His response followed words of alarm last week from National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, who said warning lights about overall cyberthreats to the US were "blinking red" — much as "blinking red" signals before the 9/11 terror attacks.

In the aftermath of his Helsinki meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump asserted that no other American president has been as "tough" on Russia as he has been. He cited US sanctions on Russia and the expulsion of alleged Russian spies from the US, telling reporters that Putin "understands it, and he's not happy about it."

Coats said last week that Russia has been the most aggressive cyberthreat but other efforts are coming from China, Iran and North Korea as well as criminal networks and individual hackers.

Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Twitter that Trump's comments were "simply false. Directly contradicted by DNI Coats, who just sounded the alarm about Russia's 'ongoing,' pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy."


Trump's comments came a day after he walked back his public questioning of US intelligence findings of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Those previous comments, delivered alongside Putin at a summit press conference in Finland, had prompted blistering, bipartisan criticism at home.

Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday to defend the meeting, promising "big results" from better relations with Russia and hitting back at "haters."

"So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki," Trump tweeted.

He added: "We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match."


In a follow-up tweet, Trump wrote that Russia has agreed to help in delicate negotiations with North Korea. But he gave no details on how and when that might happen.

"Big benefits and exciting future for North Korea at end of process!" he wrote.

Lawmakers from both parties have been sounding the alarm over fresh interference by Russia as they push to fortify US election infrastructure ahead of the midterm elections.

Senator Lindsey Graham, (R), urged colleagues to set aside their differences over the 2016 election and join to prevent another crisis.

"We need to be working feverishly here to harden our defences," Graham said after delivering an impassioned floor speech.

Senator Marco Rubio, (R), said he can "guarantee" that the Russians will interfere with the next US election. He is pushing legislation with Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland to slap Russia or other countries with sanctions if they're caught purchasing election ads, using social media to spread false information or disrupting election infrastructure.


In the case of Russia, Trump's fiercest detractors, including former CIA Director John Brennan, this week went so far as to call Trump's actions "treasonous".

Trump didn't come up with his latest catchphrase, "Trump Derangement Syndrome." In 2003, conservative opinion writer Charles Krauthammer described liberals' reaction to President George W. Bush as "Bush Derangement Syndrome," defined as "the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency - nay - the very existence of George W. Bush."

By end of President Barack Obama's tenure, some liberal pundits co-opted the phrase to describe conservatives' visceral reaction to the Democrat's policies.

UrbanDictionary.com, a popular crowdsourced online dictionary for slang terms, now has definitions for all three presidential "syndromes" — each written with plenty of bias.

"Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) is a mental condition in which a person has been driven effectively insane due to their dislike of Donald Trump, to the point at which they will abandon all logic and reason," the site states.


In other words, it's not enough for Trump to disagree with his critics. "Derangement syndrome" suggests a political opponent is incapable of accurately perceiving the world.

It's precisely the same criticism many Democrats have lobbed at Trump.

"It's reframing, and reframing works," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Centre at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's the stock-in-trade of political arguments."

Although, this particular phrase could backfire, Jamieson said. She notes that stringing together Trump's name with "Derangement" and "Syndrome" carries the obvious risk that people will interpret Trump as the one who is "deranged," instead of his critics.


But Trump has been successful before in taking a criticism and flipping it against his opponents.

For example, "fake news" was used before the 2016 election to describe fabricated online postings such as "Pizzagate" or the false allegation that Obama was born in Africa and therefore an illegitimate president.

After losing the election to Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton decried "fake news" as an "epidemic" in the US.

The next day, Trump tweeted the term to criticise a CNN report — the first of many tweets he would fire off using the phrase to discredit even credible reporting.

Now, the term "fake news" is seen as synonymous with Trump's criticisms of mainstream media outlets.

- AP