Over the last three days, Donald Trump has been making increasingly erratic posts to Twitter.
Some of the errors in Donald Trump’s tweets are typographical errors. It may seem trivial to poke fun at Donald Trump for misspelling unprecedented as “unpresidented,” for misspelling wait as “waite,” and for adding odd commas and periods where they simply don’t belong. Haven’t we all misspelled words or committed grammatical errors in our writing, after all? Isn’t Donald Trump human?
Such objections miss the point: of course nobody’s perfect, and of course everybody makes mistakes. The problem isn’t that Donald Trump is fallible. The problem is that that Donald Trump is now the President-Elect, and neither the President-Elect nor his staff is checking the President-Elect’s communications before they’re shared with the world. Not a single soul, whether it’s Trump himself or a staffer with elementary writing skills, is bothering to even glance over these Tweets before they’re posted.
If Donald Trump were an high school or college kid writing from his dorm room, we might expect such lack of care. But this isn’t who Donald Trump is. He’s a self-professed billionaire and as the next U.S. President he’s about to become the most powerful person in the world. Either out of his personal funds or in his institutionally-supported role as the soon-to-be Commander in Chief with a full transition staff, Donald Trump can afford to have someone check his work to make sure that his worldwide proclamations are at least typo-free. But the President-Elect doesn’t bother with this, and no one on his staff is stepping up to check his use of language for him. There are no filters. There are no pauses for deliberation. There is no review. Neither Trump nor his staff care enough to catch errors and fix them. The result of this carelessness is a series of communications by the President-Elect that not only embarrass him and the nation, but at times make his messages downright unintelligible. In the 24 hours since Donald Trump’s “drone they stole back.- let them keep it!” declaration, journalists have been unable to determine just what Donald Trump is trying to say. Even the partisan conservative Daily Caller has been forced to note that “the president-elect has yet to clarify his intended meaning.”
In his December 15 Tweet on Russia, Donald Trump’s error is even more egregious. This is no matter of spelling; President-Elect Trump got his basic facts fundamentally wrong and spread an obvious falsehood around the world. A one-minute check of any newsbank would show that actually, the White House was forcefully and repeatedly condemning the Russian efforts to hack the U.S. election long before Election Day. But neither President-Elect Trump nor his staff bothered to take a bare minute to check the facts before issuing a worldwide communication. Pause on that thought for a moment: Not one soul in the incoming White House administration is bothering to make sure the President gets his facts right.
The question must be asked: if the incoming Trump administration isn’t checking the President-Elect’s grasp of facts, if no one is giving a Trump’s utterly mystifying phrases a second glance, if factual errors are neither being checked beforehand nor corrected afterward, and if our next leader’s improvised, off-the-cuff, unsourced declarations are shot off around the world every day without a care to the consequences…
… what do you think will happen when Donald Trump takes the Oath of Office and actually becomes President of the United States, the most powerful person in the world, the Commander in Chief of the largest military in the world, the man with his finger on the nuclear trigger? When the President’s whims blow him in a belligerent direction, who will say “no?” Who will even dare to suggest a second thought?