Plenty of people out there can’t spell worth a hang. But when one of them occupies the office of President of the United States, you might think he’d use the vast resources of the office to help him work around it. So when Donald Trump routinely uses words incorrectly on Twitter, to the point of seemingly semi-illiteracy, even the official Merriam-Webster Dictionary account can’t help but poke fun at him for it. Today was one of those days.
First thing Monday morning, Trump tweeted “Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Council.” The trouble: he was intending to refer to White House counsel, not council. After he still hadn’t corrected it an hour and a half later, Merriam-Webster finally jumped in.
“Okay, fine. We weren’t going to do this, but here you go,” tweeted the official account belonging to the revered dictionary maker (link). It then posted the correct definitions involved:
counsel: ⚖ a lawyer appointed to advise and represent in legal matters
council: 🙋an assembly or meeting for consultation or discussion
Then for effect, it tweeted a link to the definition of the word “sheesh.” Finally, more than an hour after Merriam-Webster had corrected him, Donald Trump deleted the tweet and replaced it with a corrected version (link). Then, as if to double down, he also posted the same tweet to the official @POTUS account (link). But in so doing, he arguably used the power of his office to violate federal statute 18 U.S. Code § 1512 (link) involving witness intimidation.
So it’s entirely possible that Donald Trump was motivated to violate federal law today by a dictionary company that was making fun of his literacy issues. Sheesh indeed. Help fund Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report