Seven Different Ways President Trump Could Have Spiced Up This Tweet

His flimsy understanding of quotation marks can cause “accidental” scandal

No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, currently not so much a spectrum but a hardlined hellscape where nuance and thoughtfulness go to wither and die, I think, I hope, we can all agree on one thing. President Donald Trump needs to log off Twitter. Forever. To me, it’s not an issue of National Security or even fear of National Embarrassment. We, as a nation, have been embarrassing ourselves for years and years, regardless of what party our President belonged to. When we invented Clear Pepsi, that was a national embarrassment. When we replaced buns with fried chicken patties, that was a national embarrassment. White Chicks was a national embarrassment. Season 2 of True Detective. JNCOs. I’m not worried about egg on America’s face. It’s been there for a while now.

Mr. Trump needs to get off Twitter because he has a tenuous (at best) grasp on how to properly use quotes. He’s like Joey Tribbiani, in this regard, to say nothing of his obsession with fame’s spotlight and cartoonish womanizing. He’s just not sure how to use them, which I understand. Quotes are tough. Specifically, the scare quotes that Trump is so fond of. Scare quotes are marks placed on either end of a word or phrase that indicate the word is being used ironically, comically, or implying something more salacious than the primary word use would normally indicate. His most recent toe-dip into the boiling waters of hot-take quote usage was this:

This is, of course, a thinly veiled threat at the former FBI director and, hat tip to his background in television, a cliffhanger of the highest order. It’s safe, but scandalous. The implication is that James Comey has done something, illegal or incompetent or cruel or inappropriate. Perhaps an abuse of power or an off-color remark. We don’t know. We’ll never know. We won’t know because this is more than likely an instance of fireless smoke, but also because, according to Mr. Trump, there probably weren’t any tapes to document the incident(s). The issue here becomes Mr. Trump’s use of the scare quotes around “tapes.” What could he mean by this? Is he using tapes ironically? Does he really mean, “DVDs” or “Blu-Ray”? Replace “tapes” with um, tapes, and the message Mr. Trump was trying to send remains the same. This was a particularly boring (mis)use of scare quotes, some better ones are right here:

Will the people actually being seeing…small stuff?

Will a lot of…good rush into the country?

Was the race for DNC chairman totally forthcoming?


Now, If Mr. Trump really wanted to make the Comey tweet more scandalous and exciting, here are seven different words he could have quoted, ranked in reverse order from least to most sensational:

7. James Comey better “hope” that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!

Maybe James Comey shouldn’t be hoping at all. Maybe Mr. Trump is implying here that James Comey shouldn’t be worried about anything. That would be a relief.

6. James Comey better hope that there are “no” tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!

Sort of the opposite here. Perhaps there are literally hundreds of tapes that contain recordings of Mr. Trump and Comey talking and Comey should be hoping that they come out because within them they discuss how to cure cancer at no additional cost to American tax payers.

5. James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the “press”!

This one actually seems like something Mr. Trump would do. CNN? Oh yeah, very reputable “press”. The New York Times? A very “honest”, “successful”, “press”.

4. James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of “our” conversations before he starts leaking to the press!

If not just their conversations, then whose? This adds so many layers to the story. Who is the secret meat in this Comey-Trump sandwich? Is it Ivanka? Jared Kushner? Baron?!? Bernie!?! Lebron!!!????

3. James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts “leaking” to the press!

Uh-Oh. Does James Comey have a personal leaking issue? What is he leaking? Is he not leaking? Is that the issue? Happens to a lot of men at or around his age. Nothing to be ashamed about. Or is it?

2. “James Comey” better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!

Is it possible that James Comey isn’t just lying about Russia, or Hillary, or the investigation, or the non-investigation, but, is it possible that maybe James Comey isn’t his name at all? Perhaps his name is something much more outrageous, like Vladimir Federov or Orlando Bloom.

  1. James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our “conversations” before he starts leaking to the press!

“Conversations” huh? Big, winking nod towards the camera. Whoa, baby.