"Wire tapping" and 11 other words and phrases Trump has tweeted in quotes

Story highlights

  • Trump has accused Obama of wiretapping him
  • The White House says he didn't mean it literally because he used quotation marks
  • Here are some other words he's tweeted in quotes

(CNN)After President Donald Trump sent out a series of tweets accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping him during the 2016 election, White House press secretary Sean Spicer turned to a technicality: the references to wiretapping were in quotes.

"The President used the word 'wiretaps' in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities," Spicer said on Monday. Evidence of an Obama wiretap -- using the narrow definition of a wiretap -- hasn't been found by the House or Senate intelligence committees.
It turns out that Trump uses quotes a lot in his tweets. Here are some other words and phrases that the President may have been using broadly on Twitter since his inauguration. And, of course, in every instance, it's entirely possible that he was quoting someone else without it being immediately clear.


    The word "play" actually has many different meanings. In this case, the President probably wasn't using it to refer to "amorous flirtation."

    "Ran over"

    Trump has advocated for friendlier relations with Russia, although he has said he would stand up to world leaders better than his predecessor.

    "Witch hunt"

    The President isn't really into threading his tweets, so this came at the end of a four-part tweet about the integrity of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who admitted to meeting the Russian ambassador last year, but is also not a witch. Questioning by Democrats and others about those meetings, according to this tweet, was a figurative witch hunt, as opposed to the literal witch hunts of the colonial era.


    Even though he's a Republican, Trump kept up on the election of the Democratic National Committee chairman. Tom Perez beat out Bernie Sanders-backed Rep. Keith Ellison, and the President pulled out one of his favorite words to express how he felt about it. He clearly meant that the election was stacked against Ellison, but according to the dictionary, could also have meant "to fit out with rigging."


    Trump, like almost anyone in a position of power, is not a fan of leaked information. In this tweet, he quoted the colloquial term for someone who gives out (information) surreptitiously.


    It is no secret that the President doesn't have the best relationship with the news media. In this tweet, he seems to be dismissing the people -- known as "sources" -- who provide information to journalists for stories. See also: "leakers."


    Just to recap: Trump doesn't like leaked information. He tweeted this during a period when intelligence leaks stirred up questions about officials from his campaign and their interactions with the Russians. What a sick burn, though -- calling the intelligence of the intelligence community into question by putting the word "intelligence" in quotes. A lot of nuance in those quote marks.


    In this case, it's totally understandable for Trump to use quotes around the word "evil." Evil can mean a lot of different things to different people. And, generally speaking, getting "evil" out of the country is probably something anyone could get on board with.

    "Bad" and "dudes"

    Like "evil," "bad" is another word that means different things to everyone. And in talking about his initial travel ban, Trump left the definition wide open. As far as "dudes" goes, maybe Trump just doesn't use the word frequently. Honestly, no one should really be using the word "dudes" seriously unless they are living in California or the year 1989.


    For all we know, the President was quoting his own Inauguration speech on this tweet. The most commonly used definition of carnage is "great and usually bloody slaughter or injury." More than 700 people were murdered in Chicago last year, so whatever definition of carnage you go with, and however you feel about "(sending) in the Feds," the President has at least identified a huge problem that needs fixing.