Before heading into his farce of a summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Donald Trump decided to take one last swing at publicly kissing Putin’s backside. He posted a multi-part tweet in which he whined about how he won’t get any praise for the summit no matter how it turns out. This is like a guy who’s going on trial for mob ties complaining about how he’s being perceived for meeting with his mafia handler one last time. But something has been bothering me about the tweet all day, and it goes beyond the sheer inappropriateness of it.
It turns out I wasn’t the only one who thought there was something “off” about the tweet. One of the members of my research team was bugged by this tweet as well, because it just didn’t come across as something that Trump would have written. For that matter, it didn’t even feel like one of the tweets that his staffers have infamously penned while trying to impersonate him. I think I’ve finally figured out what’s wrong here.
For reference, here’s the full text of the tweet in question: “Heading to Helsinki, Finland – looking forward to meeting with President Putin tomorrow. Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia. over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough – that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition! Much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the people and all the Dems know how to do is resist and obstruct! This is why there is such hatred and dissension in our country – but at some point, it will heal!”
Donald Trump often botches the English language in obtuse fashion because he has literacy issues. But this tweet goes too far in the other direction. It’s too clinically perfect, to the point that it’s over-polished and sounds machine-like. No natural English speaker would write something like this and then think, “yep, I just wrote something that sounds like a real live human being.” Instead this tweet reads like it was either written by someone who learned English as a second language from a textbook but has never conversationally spoken it, or it was written in another language and translated by software. In other words, not only did Trump not write this tweet, there’s the very real possibility that someone in the Kremlin did.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report