On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Donald Trump had invited representatives of the Taliban to Camp David for peace talks over the objections of some top advisers. CNN reported that one of those advisers was Vice President Mike Pence. This—like many stories that portray the White House as a barely functional disaster area beset by backstabbing, incompetence, and hostility—provoked the president to complain on Twitter.
Shortly thereafter, “Pence” denied the story too via the official vice presidential Twitter account … and apparently felt so strongly about expressing solidarity with Trump that he adopted the president’s characteristically outbursty syntax and use of Random Capitalizations:
This is especially interesting because the rest of Pence’s VP tweets are all written in the voice of a normal person using standard rules of punctuation. For example:
Meanwhile, career officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are outraged that the agency’s (politically appointed) leaders released a statement on Friday disparaging the National Weather Service meteorologists in Alabama who’d issued (correct) information about Hurricane Dorian that contradicted Trump. The New York Times reports that NOAA released the statement after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire its leaders if they didn’t support Trump’s version of events.
In summary, we live in a banana republic in both low-stakes ways, like the president ordering the vice president to post a tweet, seemingly written by the president, about the president’s good judgment, and high-stakes ways, like forecasters not being allowed to issue accurate information about potentially deadly weather events if it would make the president look bad.
Hurricane Donald, indeed! (Please don’t call him Hurricane Donald.)