The meaning of Trump’s typos

Very aside, why doesn’t he use the words other people would use, such as productive rather than good in “good relationship with Putin” or comprehensive rather than powerful in “powerful plan that’s on my website”? Claims that he is exhibiting signs of dementia are, in my view, premature and unnecessary. A more economical analysis is that Trump actually intends the words he uses, in all of their inadequacy.

What moves Trump is the idea that important people like him, and thus that their relationship is “good”—not that their relationship might be productive, that is to say, might yield something of value for the country. Trump is moved more by power itself than what power can accomplish, or what underlies it, and so comprehensive doesn’t come to him. Similarly, to Trump, to “call” something is about him calling the shots or blowing a whistle; a declaration, usually quieter and effected via consensus, has less appeal. Yet Trump senses, on some level, that the adjectives he intends are somewhat inept in the presidential context. His solution: to dress them up with very, substituting rhetorical volume for substance.

Trump’s admirers might see him as a straight shooter, focused on telling us what’s on his mind, too busy doing the right things to bother with niceties. The tragedy is that in his hurried, lexically impoverished blurts, Trump almost daily shows us that what’s on his mind is very little.