On Monday during a White House ceremony dubbed the "Salute to the Heroes", President Donald Trump sought to pay tribute to members of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agencies of the Department of Homeland Security.
Not all went according to plan however when the President, while attempting to honor one of the CBP Border Patrol officers, Trump called the Hispanic man— identified as Adrian Anzaldua—to the podium while joking that the officer was not nervous. Trump enthusiastically told the gathered crowd:
"He speaks perfect English!"
Trump's impromptu comment drew heavy criticism for racial and ethnic profiling. A Hispanic man being honored for his involvement in thwarting human trafficking having his grasp of the English language listed as a major accomplishment—based on the false assumption that Hispanics typically cannot speak "perfect English"—angered many online.
Trump, calling an Hispanic looking-immigration BP agent: "Come here. You're not nervous, right? Speaks perfect Engl… https://t.co/iVCmNQPwEg— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@Holly Figueroa O'Reilly) 1534796803.0
While many took exception to what they viewed as another example of Trump's awkward interactions with minorities, others pointed out the President's own grasp of the English language is not very firm.
One of those detractors was English author J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. In response to Trump's comment, Rowling posted:
"Study hard, Mr President, and I might one day say the same about you."
‘Study hard, Mr President, and I might one day say the same about you.’ https://t.co/Yii3LPPNjG— J.K. Rowling (@J.K. Rowling) 1534800550.0
Others online shared the same sentiment for a man who misspelled the word counsel for the fifth time on Twitter Monday.
Trump just introduced a border agent and proclaimed he "speaks perfect English." Sadly, the border agent couldn't return the compliment.— Tea Pain (@Tea Pain) 1534795850.0
The President refers to the Special "Councel" and his White House "Councel."
The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours… https://t.co/GBoTVbjpOo— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1534676507.0
Counsel and council are recognized words in the English language. Councel is not.
Nobody will ever introduce Trump with, “He speaks perfect English.”— Schooley (@Schooley) 1534801567.0
@jk_rowling @LAVeganNative Baby steps. Let’s start with Trump spelling counsel correctly.— Trent Capelli 🇨🇦 (@Trent Capelli 🇨🇦) 1534800650.0
People on Twitter then shared their appreciation for Rowling's comebacks aimed at the 45th President and his tweets.
@jk_rowling All Hail the Queen of Troll! *ALL HAIL* *ALL HAIL* https://t.co/HoBxyQgBbz— Prof. Brandi Harris ✊🏻⚡ (@Prof. Brandi Harris ✊🏻⚡) 1534800881.0
@jk_rowling WE LOVE A LANGUAGE QUEEN— joshcharlesthirst (@joshcharlesthirst) 1534800660.0
@jk_rowling https://t.co/5beCOiunK1— Ian (@Ian) 1534801327.0
@jk_rowling I know Elizabeth is the Queen of England, but J.K. Rowling is surely the Queen of Shade. https://t.co/PBXhhShtiZ— Carrie #Enough (@Carrie #Enough) 1534801595.0
The name of another prominent author also got raised—Maineiac horror icon Stephen King.
@jk_rowling I don’t think anyone trolls Trump in more satisfying ways than you J.K.— 🇺🇸 𝘗𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘺 𝘗𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘺 🇳🇱 (@🇺🇸 𝘗𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘺 𝘗𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘺 🇳🇱) 1534800682.0
@pithypacky @jk_rowling @StephenKing and @jk_rowling are the best to trolls Mr. Trump 😂😂😂 Bless them, they are my f… https://t.co/psuJKyKuyW— Marie Fauquembergue (@Marie Fauquembergue) 1534800933.0
The Twittersphere also suggested a few characters from Rowling's own tomes who might be able to tackle Trump's English tutelage.
@jk_rowling He needs a strict teacher. McGonagall perhaps?🤔✨— Gilderoy Lockhart✨ (@Gilderoy Lockhart✨) 1534800760.0
@MagicalLockhart @jk_rowling Dolores Umbridge— merc (@merc) 1534800918.0
@HWYQE2 @MagicalLockhart @jk_rowling "I must not tell lies."— Mats (@Mats) 1534801199.0
While others just went for the jugular.
@jk_rowling 🎉😂I love it https://t.co/nLvzAiniOL— #VoteTactically Remain Positive (@#VoteTactically Remain Positive) 1534800910.0
@jk_rowling @LiberalInFL Ha! He can't go to kindergarten and fight against the rigged witch hunt both at once. 😋😋😋— Michele (@Michele) 1534800874.0
@jk_rowling Ah, tell it to the CBC.— karen munro (@karen munro) 1534800714.0
@jk_rowling The man should not be allowed spontaneous speech.— Tracy Kennedy (@Tracy Kennedy) 1534801756.0
@misskwla @jk_rowling Actually (and I know you already know this) he isn't capable of spontaneous connected language formulation!— Siobain B McGorrin (@Siobain B McGorrin) 1534802317.0
The White House nor Trump released an official statement regarding the President's comments as of Monday evening.