We Now Know Trump’s Staff Intentionally Uses Bad Grammar to Sound More Like the Real Donald
Many times scam emails will be full of ridiculous typos to winnow out those with even the barest amounts of common sense, allowing scammers to focus on only the most gullible of people. Considering those same people make up Donald Trump’s base, it shouldn’t be surprising that his staff occasionally drafts posts to the official Donald Trump Twitter account laden with fake typos and lousy grammar to appear authentic.
According to The Boston Globe, White House staffers will write tweets on behalf of Trump, mimicking his style. Some of the official techniques for a legitimate-sounding Trump tweet include dodgy grammar, sentence fragments, random capitalization and overuse of the exclamation point. But the staff say they don’t intentionally misspell words or names.
In addition to sounding like the president, staffers also use Trump’s writing quirks to help reach out to his base. The modern Republican party has long had a strain of anti-intellectualism, as outlined by historian Richard Hofstadter in his seminal, Pulitzer-winning 1964 book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.
The general idea Hofstadter puts forward is that the Republican party has cultivated the belief that “elites” can’t be trusted, as they don’t live in the “real world.” By using poor grammar, Trump aligns himself with those who do “live in the real world” — despite being an executive who surrounds himself in absurd opulence.
The staff keeps who wrote which tweet quiet, and many insiders say it’s difficult to tell the difference between a legitimate Trump tweet and a ghost-written one. But Andrew McGill, a writer at The Atlantic, wrote an algorithm able to discern which really came from the President. The results appear at the Twitter account @TrumpOrNotBot, which retweets each Trump tweet along with a percentage of likelihood the individual tweet was written by Trump himself.
This tweet was sent via Twitter for iPhone. I compute a 13% chance it was written by Trump himself. https://t.co/sqiYqWlns4
— Trump or Not (@TrumpOrNotBot) May 22, 2018
Though not every tweet is written by Trump, the president does choose which tweets appear on the official Donald Trump Twitter account. The Boston Globe outlines the process — a staffer who wants Trump to tweet about a topic will write a memo including three or four potential Tweets. Trump chooses the one he likes best, occasionally tweaking the wording.