Donald Trump: A historically bad speller

Remember Trump's covfefe tweet?

The infamous "covfefe" tweet

The infamous "covfefe" tweet

Of course, you do.

How could you forget a Tweet like that from the leader of the free world?

Apparently, President Trump was trying to spell “coverage,” or what then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “Most of us knew what he was talking about.”

Really, Sean?


While this would not really be a big deal if it occurred just this one time, it appears to be a common occurrence the president can’t shake – much to the ire of English teachers everywhere.

Take his tweets from Thursday morning, August 24:

Insert your own facepalm gif here...

Insert your own facepalm gif here...

“There” spelled with an “I” and an “e.” In his follow up tweet, “to” spelled with just one “o.”

To be fair though, Trump finds himself in some pretty good company when it comes to butchering the English language.

Andrew Jackson bungled his written words, everything from "devilopment," to the continent of "Urope" and performing before a "larg" audience. Political rivals, including John Quincy Adams, criticized Jackson for his poor spelling to which Jackson responded: "It's a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word." The parallels between Jackson and Trump seem to be endless.

According to the Smithsonian, founding father Benjamin Franklin blamed the alphabet for his spelling errors. So enamored was Franklin with the alphabet that he even took to creating his own. While living in London in 1768 Franklin wrote A Scheme for a new Alphabet and a Reformed Mode of Spelling in which he proposed a fairly accurate phonetic system for spelling English. 


Ben Franklin

Created his own alphabet because of his notoriously bad spelling habits.

Even the infamous duo of Lewis and Clark were not immune to bad spelling. Historian Donald Jackson called William Clark "a creative speller" and "a versatile capitalizer." The dictionary wasn’t immune either (at least the word wasn’t). In his 1959 bulletin, “Some Books Carried by Lewis and Clark,” Jackson noted Clark’s frustration to spell the title for the book of words: “the ink in his pen nearly congealed with frustration and disgorged . . . [before the word] Deckinsary [finally appeared on the page].

But these gentlemen grew up in a nation where the rule of “sounding it out” reigned supreme, which makes sense considering that the first edition of the American Spelling Book didn’t appear until 1783. So what’s the current commander-in-chief’s excuse? He didn’t fail the New York Military Academy (where he attended as a student from age 13 until he graduated in 1964). So did the academy fail him?

To alleviate the problem, the president should make light of these spelling errors. Use it as a teachable moment.

Maybe the president should go straight to an elementary school in middle America and get schooled by the little ones on the difference between “there” and “their” and “to” and “too.” Imagine the hilarious visual! It’d be great. He could even invite former Vice President Dan Quayle!

But it won’t happen.

Trump isn’t that kind of person. He’s unlikely to admit being wrong, and I’d not be surprised to see him follow Franklin’s lead and start a new alphabet before admitting a grammar mistake.

If that’s the case: 2020 will be a "yuge deal.