Betsy DeVos is a name known in few American households. She is, though, US secretary of state for education, or was the last time we checked, which was yesterday.
She will, it’s to be hoped, be worried about education systems, from the west coast to the east, that turn out people who one way or another climb the greasy poles of politics and government unimpeded by their tendency to butcher spelling and the other elements of language that when assembled carefully ensure clarity and at least give the impression that politicians know what they’re talking about. Muddled language is often the product of an undisciplined mind.
Mr Trump thinks that ‘smoking’, as in the gun metaphor, is spelt ‘smocking’, making him this year’s leading contender for the Dan Quayle Potatoe prize, Best-in-Tweet class. George W Bush, having noted that the problem with the French language was that it didn’t have a word for ‘entrepreneur’, advised his opponents not to ‘misunderestimate’ him, while a Tweeting Sarah Palin offered invented ‘refudiate’ as an alternative to ‘refute’.
Democrats, too, can mash the language, as demonstrated by vice president Joe Biden:
The current leader of the free world, however, has a more pressing worry than the shoddy use of English by folks who should know better . Will the special counsel investigating his alleged collusion with Russia find evidence sufficient to justify an impeachment trial? He doubtless knows there’s no smock without fire.