President Trump likes to take credit whenever possible — when he beats a longtime politician in an election, when America "wins," and when he "invents" a cool phrase.
On Thursday, Merriam-Webster schooled the president after he claimed he made up a phrase that literally dates back centuries. In an interview with The Economist published Thursday, Trump claimed he made up the phrase "priming the pump," saying, "Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just … I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do."
The commander-in-chief was explaining that it's okay if his tax plan increases the country's deficit for a few years because "we have to prime the pump." He then asked three times if the interviewer had heard the expression (they had), before taking full credit for its existence.
Merriam-Webster was not having it. The dictionary company tweeted Thursday, "The phrase 'priming the pump' dates to the early 19th century." (Trump has even used the phrase in previous interviews, so claiming he made it up "a couple of days ago" is easily refuted.)
It didn't stop there, either. Merriam-Webster continued subtweeting the president, pointing out that not only is the phrase ancient, it's been used in political rhetoric for decades. It also tweeted its official definition and examples of how it's used to talk about the government.
Lauren Naturale runs Merriam-Webster's Twitter account, and previously told Refinery29, "Things that shouldn't be politically charged, like the definition of a fact, are being received as if they are politically charged." She added, "But our job is to provide people with accurate definitions. And some of the most interesting things we share on Twitter are the words people are looking up at a given moment."
Twitter dot com is such a magical place.