Trump, Putin and Dictionaries: What's in a Word?
Trump And Putin
Collusion And Traitor And Treason, Oh My!
It's interesting that one of the United States' allies is now embroiled in a trade war with the United States while President Trump has embraced relations with Russia.
The Trump-Putin summit, held July 16 in Helsinki, Finland, was one that quite a few did not exactly want to happen. Some American politicians, notably Senator Chuck Schumer, who has had what can be politely termed a fractious relationship with Trump, said outright that Trump and Putin should not meet alone. Much of this may very well be due to the never-ending speculation that Russia meddled in the 2016 election that saw Trump lose the popular vote but still win the highest seat in the nation.
Regardless, meet they did and the ensuing press conference did absolutely nothing to make people feel any better about the United States president.
Some have speculated that Trump did little to nothing to dispel ongoing rumors that he has been in collusion with Russia for years. Others, such as CNN's Anderson Cooper, said that Trump's showing at the Helsinki summit was the most "disgraceful" by an American president.
You know you've probably had a serious misstep, though, when dictionaries are taking pokes at you on social media.
Merriam-Webster tweeted the definition for the word collusion. There was apparently a spike in searches for that word in the immediate aftermath of the summit, with Merriam-Webster saying searches for the word had last spiked following the indictment of Paul Manafort in October 2017. The "collusion" tweet has been liked nearly 1800 times and retweeted over 800 times.
Reportedly, collusion was not the only term on people's minds following the Trump-Putin summit. With some suggesting that Merriam-Webster should actually offer a definition of "treason weasel," the dictionary did offer a definition for treason, as well as some historical background as to why the word itself can be problematic at times.
Dictionary.com also got in on the shade being thrown at the United States president. Tweeting definitions for patriot and traitor, it was pretty clear for all those on social media that the #Helsinki summit between the United States and Russian presidents did not go down well for some.
Small wonder the press conference following the much-anticipated summit didn't result in accolades for Trump. Perhaps the president forgot that he was actually in front of journalists instead of on social media, as he proceeded to bash the United States and the ongoing Mueller probe on the international stage. It's a bit of a no-brainer that if you trash your own country, others from the same country will come to its defense and give you a hard time for what you're saying. Trump effectively bashing the country he's supposed to be leading is not a good omen for high approval ratings.
Also, in a move that was not reported on some transcripts - some audio issues are reportedly to blame - a journalist asked Russian president Vladimir Putin if he directed any of his officials to help Trump win the presidential election. Reportedly, Putin did respond in the affirmative, citing potentially improved US-Russia relations. This appears to be the most contentious part of the press conference, as some are arguing that there were translation issues in addition to some tech issues with the sound, but others are saying that Putin's intentions were fairly clear.
The fact of the matter is, while Trump has claimed in the past that he's got "the best words," it's his own words that are frequently tripping him up and causing him grief with journalists on the international stage. He's sparked something of a trade war with Canada, has denigrated NATO and its allies, yet continues to embrace relations with Russia and North Korea. While improved relations with all countries should be the goal of many nations, it would appear that President Trump's own war with words is going to continue to cause him problems both at home and internationally.
Certainly, the journalists covering him are having no problems with their words - there continues to be plenty to say about Trump's apparently odd approach to foreign policy, among other facets of his administration.
It would also appear that online dictionaries are also taking note of his behavior now, too.