SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Sad. Pathetic. Fake news. Have those words crept - burst into your vocabulary in the past couple of years? Any president has an impact on public rhetoric, but the influence of what I'll call Trumptalk, derived from the president's frequent tweets, may be even more communicable. Sarcastic nicknames. Punchy phrases. Staccato sentences. Exclamation points scattered like bowling pins. We all talk like that now, even if, or perhaps precisely because these tweets can be fragmented and ungrammatical, they are taken as signs of authenticity from a president who reportedly tweets while watching "Fox And Friends" in his bathrobe.
But this week, Annie Linskey of The Boston Globe reports that several West Wing staffers also craft tweets for the president. But they try to approximate his style by writing sentence fragments, grammatical errors and capital letters that sprout seemingly by chance like dandelions in a meadow. Tweets that are proposed are in his voice, an unidentified staffer told The Globe. You want to do it in a way that fits his style.
It is irresistible to reflect on how history might have been enlivened if leaders of the past had been able to tweet in a style similar to President Trump's. Abraham Lincoln might tweet in April 1861, crooked Confederates bomb Fort Sumter. Not good.
Brutus on March 15, 44 B.C. - or however they said B.C. when they couldn't have known they were B.C. - could tweet, I was nowhere near Caesar when he went down fast and hard on the Senate floor. Special Roman Council investigation already shows no collusion.
Ulysses S. Grant might tweet in 1864, little Robert E. Loser's cannonballs couldn't shoot through a burlap sack. My cannonball's button is much bigger and more powerful, and my button works.
The pharaoh of ancient Egypt might have thumbed, fake news. Book of Exodus says if we don't let Israelites go, we'll be hit by frogs, lice, boils, hail and locusts. Crying Moses. Empty threats.
And Cotton Mather, the Puritan minister, could've tweeted in the 1690s, 20 witches tried and down. This is the greatest witch hunt in history.
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SIMON: Didn't Alec Baldwin say they might need to replace him?
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