Talking about Quotation Marks with President Trump

I don’t usually use my blog for political purposes, but President Trump has taken to giving punctuation lessons, and that’s my turf, so here goes.

As we know, President Trump tweeted this:

trump tweet

Then he tweeted this:

trump tweet 2

When it turned out that Trump’s accusation was somewhere between an outright lie and a flaky conspiracy theory, he started backpedaling.  With a straight face, he told Fox News, “When I say wiretapping, those words were in quotes. That really covers — because wiretapping is pretty old-fashioned stuff — but that really covers surveillance and many other things. And nobody ever talks about the fact that it was in quotes, but that’s a very important thing.”

Ok, sir.  Let’s talk about “quotes,” or as most people call them, quotation marks.  Quotation marks are used for several specific purposes, including the indication of someone else’s words.  Is that what you were doing when you put quotation marks around “wire tapping” in a couple of your tweets?  If so, who were you quoting?

Another use of quotation marks is to indicate ironic usage of a term.  (Sometimes this is called a scare quote.)  If that’s what you were doing by placing quotation marks around “wire tapping,” you were essentially saying that it wasn’t a wiretap at all but the opposite of a wiretap, which makes no sense.

Your “it was in quotes” defense has no credibility.  It either means you were lying, ignorant, full of crap, or all three.

If you would like to talk more about punctuation, sir, I stand ready to serve.  Otherwise, maybe we can discuss spelling and proofreading.

trump tweet tapp

unpresidented

trmp tweet honored

 

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