Throughout Trump’s presidential campaign, it was a source of delight to watch the way he mangled the English language, his sentences an un-diagrammable monstrosity of errant phrases and go-nowhere asides. Now that he is accidentally still the president, it’s a more frightening phenomenon, particularly as his freewheeling stream-of-consciousness policy directives threaten to get literally all of us fucking killed. Seeing his words in print makes clear his disintegrating ability to maintain individual thoughts even for long enough to put them into a coherent sentence.
In a delightful thought experiment at The Baffler, author Josh McDonald feeds a bunch of Trump’s pre-written speeches as well as his off-the-cuff rally speeches into an algorithm to see if what comes out is distinguishable from his actual transcripts. Each computer-generated paragraph requires a prompt, so McDonald cycled through a bunch of Trump’s favorite patriotic, quantitative, fear-mongering, and political topics. The result is just dadaist enough to be believable.
The word “billions,” for example, erupts in this weird sojourn into the world of professional wrestling:
Billions of my statement, in the security and with the newest, largest number of the burden, but, to flow chart. That’s not—I must work with Brock. Where’s General for lunch? Let’s see it. And you can call them down the same is maybe this day will be change for about the history of them, how to enslave her husband, Vince McMahon.
The left-turn “Terror” takes talk about CNN feels pretty on point:
Terror attack from a large numbers. 78%. Of thousands of their family. The United States is why CNN sucks! CNN does anybody comes in, it believes he got invited to join us $1.7.
And “sick” might’ve been pulled from any press conference of the past year:
Sick sick people. The fundamental reforms. We have 48 Democrats. We will make unbelievable—we are my first moments, the world, and billions of energy.
Most interestingly, the prompt “hell” spawns the word “hellthugs,” which, McDonald notes, is not a weird Trump has ever used, seemingly implying that the machine itself had achieved sentience, or at least as much sentience as the president himself retains. Check out the rest of the surprisingly believable word-garbage here.