President Donald J. Trump frequently slips malaphors into his interviews and speeches. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a malaphor is the mixed usage of idioms such as “it’s not rocket surgery.” Although this combination of “it’s not brain surgery” and “it’s not rocket science” makes no sense, it still manages to get the point across.
As the Telegraph pointed out, Trump himself has been known to boast that he has “the best words.” His politics may be divisive, but his Trump-isms are always good for a laugh, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on.
1. Peachy Dory
Trump seems to particularly enjoy combining “peachy keen” and “hunky dory” into the malaphor “peachy dory.” He was first quoted as saying it on the campaign trail back in 2016. More recently, Huffington Post quoted him as saying it again in his latest press conference about the wall and the partial government shutdown.
“I said, ‘Well, if we go back and everything is peachy dory and you say we’ll talk over thirty days, at the end of the thirty days are you going to give us great border security, which includes a wall or a steel barrier, she said no.” President Donald Trump reportedly said this phrase while referring to Nancy Pelosi.
Trump clearly became confused during a 2017 meeting with African leaders. So confused, in fact, that he invented the fictional country of Nambia. Per Business Insider, administration officials later claimed that the president meant to say Namibia, not Nambia. He uttered the same gaffe twice during the meeting.
“Nambia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficent.”
The president’s habit of tweeting without proofreading reached new heights on May 31, 2017, when he infamously coined the word “covfefe.” Three hours later, Trump turned what was almost certainly an autocorrect mistake into a borderline conspiracy theory by tweeting out: “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’??? Enjoy!”
4. President of the Virgin Islands
In October 2017, Trump seemed very impressed by the fact that he’d had a meeting with someone “incredible.” Namely, himself. The 2017 Family Values Summit, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as the annual meeting of an anti-LGBT hate group, featured some strange commentary.
“I met with the president of the Virgin Islands… the Virgin Islands and the president of the Virgin Islands, these are people that are incredible people.”
Trump either doesn’t know that he’s the president of the Virgin Islands, or he was sneaking a humble-brag into his speech.
5. We’re Going to Leave Nothing Uncovered
Trump uttered another malaphor in October of 2018, and this one is extra impressive because it combines three idioms into a single phrase with unintended results. CNN shared a video of the president discussing Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, a video in which Trump said “we’re going to leave nothing uncovered.”
This phrase combines “uncover the truth,” “leave nothing to chance,” and “leave no stone unturned.” Hilariously, as pointed out by Malaphors.com, this mixed sentence ends up having the opposite meaning of the original idioms.
6. Signing Them Like They’re Butter
Most people melt butter instead of signing it, but Trump once accused President Barack Obama of signing executive orders “like they’re butter.” This mash-up shows confusion between “selling like hotcakes” and cutting through an item easily, or “like a hot knife through butter.” Perhaps Trump was channeling his inner Homer Simpson, a cartoon character who likes to keep pencils in a stick of butter so that he can write delicious memos.
Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Trump “knows words,” and that he uses them in a “bigly” fashion. His bungled phrases also keep journalists, comedians, and Twitter users hopping in their attempts to decipher the meaning behind his latest comments.