President Trump and the Mystery of the Possibly Passive-Aggressive Comma has returned for another episode.
Once again on Friday, the president suggested on Twitter that he has only one daughter: Ivanka. The immediate issue with that is that he has two. Eighteen-year-old Tiffany Trump, whose mother is Marla Maples, is his younger daughter, but Trump's tweet suggests otherwise.
"My daughter, Ivanka, just arrived in South Korea. We cannot have a better, or smarter, person representing our country," wrote Trump.
My daughter, Ivanka, just arrived in South Korea. We cannot have a better, or smarter, person representing our country.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 23, 2018
(That "Heyyyy!" you hear is coming from Mike Pence's office.)
According to the rules of grammar, bookending "Ivanka" with commas means Trump only has one daughter. He should have written "My daughter Ivanka just arrived in South Korea."
The reason this is of news value, and not just another one of Trump's inexplicable Twitter quirks such as random capitalization of words, is that this erroneous construction has been pointed out to him in the press and on social media before.
In June 2017, Trump tweeted about first daughter Ivanka's upcoming appearance on Fox News's morning show: "My daughter, Ivanka, will be on @foxandfriends tomorrow morning. Enjoy!"
My daughter, Ivanka, will be on @foxandfriends tomorrow morning. Enjoy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2017
And in January 2017, Trump wrote, "At 9:00 P.M. @CNN, of all places, is doing a Special Report on my daughter, Ivanka. Considering it is CNN, can't imagine it will be great!"
At 9:00 P.M. @CNN, of all places, is doing a Special Report on my daughter, Ivanka. Considering it is CNN, can't imagine it will be great!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2017
The comma situation was noted both times.
this comma placement is fucking brutal for tiff https://t.co/JT4of0HAQC— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) June 12, 2017
Editor Me: that comma after "daughter" is sad for Tiffany. https://t.co/lnDXZ6Ph8e— Radhika Jones (@radhikajones) January 17, 2017
And yet he's done it again.
Political observers have cast a sympathetic eye toward Tiffany Trump, who was raised by her mother in California and is not nearly as close to her father as her older siblings Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka, all of whom work in the family business. Even though she now attends Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C. she's also not seen around the White House or on the president's Twitter feed nearly as often as the other three.
Not much has been officially disclosed about the intrafamily dynamics, but there are hints of tension. Trump himself reported that the three elders tried to bump Tiffany out of her inheritance. Things seemed to be looking up last June, when Tiffany actually appeared in a photo alone with her father. But in October, the president, Ivanka and stepmother Melania Trump forgot her birthday on Twitter. And over the Christmas holiday, she posed for Instagram alone at Mar-a-Lago.
On Election Day, Trump told Fox News that he was proud of Tiffany to a "lesser extent" than his other children. "I'm very proud, because Don and Eric and Ivanka and — you know, to a lesser extent 'cause she just got out of school, out of college — but, uh, Tiffany, who has also been so terrific. They work so hard," he said.