Ad Hominem Fallacy in the Second US Presidential Debate 2020: Donald Trump, the King of Ad Hominem

  • Afdila Puspita Syifa'atus Shofi Universitas Negeri Surabaya
  • Widyastuti Widyastuti State University of Surabaya
Keywords: Logical Fallacy, Presidential Debate, Abusive, Poisoning the well, two-wrongs


The purpose of this study is to reveal and to identify the sorts of Ad Hominem fallacies used by one of the presidential candidates, Donald J. Trump, during the second US presidential debate in 2020 because Trump is named as the king of ad hominem. This study applied Damer, (2009) classification theory of ad hominem fallacy, which includes three categories; Abusive, poisoning the well and two-wrongs fallacy was used in this study. The descriptive qualitative approach is used in this study by collecting, arranging, analyzing and summarizing the data. Only two of the three kinds of ad hominem fallacy were found in this study. Based on the finding, it can be concluded that the Abusive Ad Hominem fallacy became the most often appearing category used by Trump using the pronoun you and he to attack directly to his opponent. Donald J. Trump's second dominant type is poisoning the well using the future tense modal will and wouldn’t.


Download data is not yet available.


Dahlman, C., Reidhav, D., & Wahlberg, L. (2013). Fallacies in Ad Hominem Arguments. Law and Philosophy Library, 102, 57–70.

Damer, T. E. (2009). Attacking Faulty Reasoning: A Practical Guide to Fallacy-Free Arguments. In Conference Proceedings on APL as a Tool of Thought, APL 1989 (6th ed.). Wadsworth Publishing.

Groarke, L. (1982). When Two Wrongs Make a Right Make A Right. 10–13.

Rizal, H. A., Rifai, M., & Gumilar, G. G. (2021). Logical Fallacy on Government Policy and Good Governance In INDOPOS.CO.ID Media. 4(2), 259–265.

Walton, D. (2006). Poisoning the Well. 20, 1–29.

Warman, J. S., & Hamzah, H. (2019). an Analysis of Logical Fallacy on Joko Widodo’S Arguments During 2019
Indonesia Presidential Debate. English Language and Literature, 8(3).

Warman, J. S., & Hamzah, H. (2020). An Analysis of Logical Fallacy on Prabowo Subianto’s Argumentation during 2019 Indonesia Presidential Debate. Lingua Didaktika: Jurnal Bahasa Dan Pembelajaran Bahasa, 14(1), 70–80.