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 English.”
This is the thing that impressed Trump: not that he saved people from human trafficking.
That the brown guy could speak English.pic.twitter.com/m1qlJkF66J
— Holly Figueroa O’Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) August 20, 2018
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 (@jk_rowling) August 20, 2018
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 (@TeaPainUSA) August 20, 2018
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 of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type “RAT.” But I allowed him and all others to testify – I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2018
Counsel and council are recognized words in the English language. Councel is not.
Nobody will ever introduce Trump with, “He speaks perfect English.”
— Schooley (@Rschooley) August 20, 2018
Baby steps. Let’s start with Trump spelling counsel correctly.
— TrentaCapelli (@OkCallMeAL) August 20, 2018
People on Twitter then shared their appreciation for Rowling’s comebacks aimed at the 45th President and his tweets.