March 22, 2017
Get out your English to Americanese dictionary, Jeffrey Lord tells CNN panelists
by Julia Fleischaker
When one liar lies about another liar lying, does the earth collapse into itself? It does not! It keeps turning, with very little disruption, it turns out.
In their continued assault on words and the meanings we ascribe to them, surrogates for Trump keep scrambling for new ways to tell us not to believe the words Trump says but to instead find the essential meaning behind them. You may remember during the campaign, Corey Lewandowski infamously chided the press for taking the then-presidential candidate at his word.
This is the problem with the media. You guys took everything that Donald Trump said so literally. The American people didn’t. They understood it. They understood that sometimes, when you have a conversation with people, whether it’s around the dinner table or at a bar, you’re going to say things, and sometimes you don’t have all the facts to back it up.
Ditto billionaire Trump backer Peter Thiel: “The media always has taken Trump literally. It never takes him seriously, but it always takes him literally… I think a lot of the voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally.”
Recently, to cover for Trump’s tweeted allegation that as president Barack Obama had “wires tapped” in Trump Tower, the excuses have been rolling in. Kellyanne Conway opined that, hey, microwaves can spy on you now, so he didn’t necessarily mean phones and also, can you ignore all that other stuff? And Sean Spicer claimed that the president’s use of quotation marks nullified the seriousness of the charge. Per Rebecca Schoenkopf at Wonkette,
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer today said that Donald Trump never really thought former President Barack Obama was wiretapping him or Trump Tower, and that you can tell he didn’t mean it because he put “wire tapp” in quotation marks, and everyone knows that “quotation marks” mean “don’t quote me.”
During an appearance on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” Lord was the only one on an eight-person panel to deny that Trump lied when he alleged that Obama had his “wires tapped” in Trump Tower during the presidential race. Unlike journalists and government officials, Lord said, Trump’s supporters understood that Trump did not mean the claim literally.
Lord recalled appearing on a radio show in Birmingham, Ala., earlier in the day and being told by the host that Americans outside of Washington understood Trump’s accusation to mean more broadly that he was being surveilled by the FBI or another agency.
“He says, you know, ‘We speak Americanese out here, and we know what he meant,’” Lord said. ‘What he meant was the FBI was—or somebody else was—surveilling him. That’s what he thinks.”
All those years of real Americans fighting for English to be our official language, only to be told now, coincidentally in the middle of an FBI investigation of a sitting, truth-challenged president, that we need to start talking Americanese. Don’t quote me on this, but I think there may be “more” to this “story.”
Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.