The Trump administration’s tendency to struggle with proper English usage is well established at this point. The most prominent example of this trend is no doubt the president’s repetitive inability to tweet with correct spelling and grammar, but there are other examples too — like a letter that retired English teacher Yvonne Mason recently got from the White House.
She had continued on with a tradition she had long set for herself and written to the White House to express her opinions in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year. She admonished the president to meet individually with every single victim’s family and “assure them that something was going to be done about gun control in this country,” in her description.
The letter she got in response to her admonishment was chock full of the kind of grammar and style errors that have come to define communications from the Trump administration. With the errors perhaps functioning as a sort of straw that broke the camel’s back and allowing for an outlet for broad discontent with the White House, Mason corrected all of the mistakes she could find in the letter and sent it back to the White House.
She told The Washington Post:
‘If I had received this from one of my students. I would have handed it back without a grade on it and said, “I hope you left the real one at home.”‘
Mason’s corrections focused on issues like trademark random capitalization and repetitive usage of the word “I” in the letter, both of which are Trump-ian stylistic trends that have been established well outside of the piece she herself got from the White House.
She indicated to The Post that “whoever wrote the letter doesn’t need a new job, maybe just a new stylebook.”
The implications of the repetitive errors in White House communications have at times been grave. At one point, the White House issued a statement claiming — in its first version — that evidence pointed to the Iranians actively developing their nuclear weapons program. However, the White House quickly revised “has” to “had,” indicating that the program was in the past and temporarily avoiding serious global implications of such a grave accusation.
Of course, recently, President Trump has employed other means to torpedo the established global order, having announced the withdrawal of the United States from the landmark Iranian nuclear deal.
Overall, then, the White House is continuing to push forward no matter the state of the grammar of their official communications — and Mason, who taught English for 17 years, continues to be stumped as to the seeming inability of the present administration to get a solid grip on something as basic as spelling and grammar.
She described her take on the subject to The Post by saying:
‘If you can’t communicate what you want or what you need… you’re not going to get what you want. Writing clearly and consistently gives you power.’
The Trump administration is certainly drawing any power it has from other sources at present.
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