Another ‘covfefe’ moment for Trump with ‘Smocking Gun’ misfire

Posted on December 12, 2018


From the man who brought you ‘covfefe’ and ‘leightweight chocker’, a brand new Twitter typo has emerged and left many wondering whether the US President is not just a careless typist, but also a very poor speller.

In a two-tweet ramble about the Democrat Party’s investigations into his links with Russia on Tuesday, Donald Trump twice used the phrase ‘Smocking Gun’. Surprisingly, he hasn’t even deleted the tweets.

The fact that he made the same mistake twice suggests that this is not simply a typo, but a misunderstanding of how to spell ‘smoking’. It also follows the same pattern as his previous ‘chocker’ (instead of ‘choker’) gaffe in that it wrongly puts a ‘ck’ after a long ‘o’ sound.

To make it even worse for Trump, ‘smocking’ is actually a word. It’s a type of embroidery, as American dictionary compilers Merriam-Webster chose to point out later on the same day.

It’s not the first time the wordsmiths at Merriam-Webster have had a not so subtle etymological giggle at Trump’s expense. Last year, the account pointed out the difference between ‘counsel’ and ‘council’ to him, and many more of the dictionary’s presidential trolling attempts (mostly aimed at Trump) can be seen here.

Others had a chuckle at the blunder too, including these two clever images.

It has been suggested that the tweets emanating from Trump’s account are not put out by Trump himself, or at least not all of them are. Rather, many suspect there is in effect a team of ‘Trumps’ who type out the sort of material he tends to say. Trump also insists that he does understand spelling and grammar, and that his often seemingly random capitalisations are purely ‘for emphasis’.

One thing Trump has successfully managed to do – and it’s something businesses should strive to do in their social media – is create his own structure and ‘voice’ in what he tweets. By that, I mean that even if you saw one of his tweets and were not told who tweeted it, you could probably guess from the language and formatting that it was him.

Aside from the capitalisations, and the fact that almost everything he tweets is defensive and about himself, a notable trait he has is to conclude his tweets with a one- or two-word summary in block capitals, such as ‘WITCH HUNT!’ or ‘FAKE NEWS!’ In a way, it’s not unlike the popular Opta Sports tweets (albeit somewhat less concise and coherent), which always start with a number and end with a single word related to the statistic.

To many, especially on this side of the Atlantic, Trump’s idiosyncratic style of tweeting comes across as being like the whining of a spoilt child who won’t stop banging his fists on the table. To his supporters, however, his rambunctious, populist and anti-establishment noise-making is what they love about him, and each of these tweets moves him closer to their hearts.

This is all well and good, but he would certainly do well to appoint a spellchecker to at least pick up any of these basic mistakes. I’m not necessarily saying Trump can’t spell himself, but there’s certainly no smock without fire.

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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