Donald Trump gave a speech on Tuesday while signing the Great American Outdoors Act. During the event, he mispronounced the name of one of the country’s most famous national parks so badly that social media users quickly pounced on the blunder. It soon became one of the top trending topics on Twitter.
Trump stood at a podium in front of American flags as he extolled the virtues of America’s public land, as video of the event shows — which can be viewed on PBS. The bill — a bipartisan effort that allocates $900 million a year to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and provides up to $9.5 billion over five years for projects aimed at maintaining America’s natural spaces — is being touted as one of the most significant pieces of legislation aimed at conservation in 50 years.
“We want every American child to have access to pristine outdoor spaces. When young Americans experience the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon. When their eyes widen in amazement as Old Faithful bursts into the sky. When they gaze upon ‘yo-semites’, ‘yo-semites” towering sequoias,” he said.
"Yo, Semites" https://t.co/cGdQ4zliXz
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 4, 2020
Some were quick to point out that not only is the national park one of the most well known in the country, but that the president has also spent his entire life in the United States and has likely heard the name before.
“He’s… never heard the word ‘Yosemite’ out loud? What sort of posh New York City enclave did he spend his *entire pre-political life* in that he can’t say this word properly? What the hell is wrong with him? Why are there so many common words he can’t pronounce, but a child can?” Seth Abramson tweeted.
Author and film critic Zaki Hasan criticized people who compare Trump’s mental acuity to Joe Biden, given Trump’s difficulty in pronouncing the word.
Professor and pundit Steve Vladeck joked that the White House would soon issue an official explanation for how people have been pronouncing Yosemite wrong all these years.
Others defended the president or commented that the news was a distraction from the real issues facing the country and from his recent controversial Axios interview.
People who support the bill say that not only will it create tens of thousands of jobs, but that it will also help to restore some of the crumbling infrastructure that underfunded parks have been facing for years.
Organizations on both sides of the political divide have supported the measure, as have groups like the National Audobon Society and The Nature Conservancy. Opponents say it will add to the nation’s debt without making a meaningful difference.