Donald Trump’s rapidly worsening illiteracy points to something far more disconcerting

Who cares whether or not a President can read or write, as long as he can lead. The trouble for Donald Trump is that he can’t seem to do any of the above. We’ve long known that Trump is semi-literate at best, but the problem has grown progressively worse over time – and in the past two weeks we’ve seen an outright explosion of incoherent gibberish that would get him flunked from the second grade. Moreover, this points to something even more disconcerting having gone wrong.


You probably know the greatest hits by now. Since August 19th, Donald Trump has used the word “heel” four times when he meant “heal” instead. He’s twice used “to bad” when he meant “too bad.” He’s used “their” instead of “there.” He’s circled back and used “heeling” instead of “healing.” And last night he typed “HEREOS” instead of “HEROES.” What stands out is that these are the specific kinds of things (homophones, all caps, etc) that his phone’s autocorrect wouldn’t be able to flag. This suggests that Trump is now spelling more or less everything incorrectly, and what you see above is merely the fraction of that which autocorrect can’t clean up for him. But the problem isn’t the spelling. It’s the timing.


Trump’s “heel” vs “heal” meltdown took place the morning after he fired Steve Bannon. He’s been consistently illiterate in the two weeks since. This means Bannon was either proofreading Trump’s tweets, or ghostwriting them. Either way, Trump was willing to accept some kind of spelling and grammar help from Bannon, who – despite being evil – at least knew how to spell. With Bannon gone, and Trump now surrounded by few if any people he still trusts, he’s simply winging it, and he doesn’t care how embarrassing the end result is.


Even poor spellers are finding themselves pushing back against Donald Trump’s increasingly illiterate tweets, because he’s making clear that he’s too stubborn or egotistical to take advantage of the vast resources of his office. He’s not willing to admit to his remaining advisers that he can’t spell anything and ask for help, so instead he’s unwittingly admitting it to the entire world. What other, infinitely more important decisions and tasks are now being handled by Trump in this same fly by night manner? That’s the disconcerting part.


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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report

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