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Merriam-Webster Reminds Trump He Didn’t Invent ‘Priming the Pump’

The phrase dates back to the 1800s, despite Trump’s claim that he ”came up with it a couple of days ago“

Once again, Donald Trump has said something factually incorrect, and Merriam-Webster is again on the case.

In a truly bizarre interview this week with The Economist, Trump spoke at length about a number of topics, including his still-developing economic plans. There was plenty for both detractors and supporters to pick apart, but what stood out the most wasn’t POTUS’ policy proposals — it was Trump’s strange claim that he coined one of the most well-known and frequently-used expressions in the English language.

No, really. Here’s how it went down.

President Trump: That all goes into tax reduction. Tremendous savings.

But beyond that it’s OK if the tax plan increases the deficit?
It is OK, because it won’t increase it for long. You may have two years where you’ll…you understand the expression “prime the pump”?

Yes.
We have to prime the pump.

It’s very Keynesian.
We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world. Have you heard that expression before, for this particular type of an event?

Priming the pump?
Yeah, have you heard it?

Yes.
Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just…I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do.

It’s…
Yeah, what you have to do is you have to put something in before you can get something out.

Suffice to say, Trump did not just come up with it a couple of days ago. The specific expression might have been coined in 1819 by author Sir Walter Scott, but in the sense Trump used it, it goes back to 1933 and the FDR administration. Facts that Merriam-Webster were quick to point out.

This isn’t the first time Merriam-Webster has taken Trump, or a member of his administration, to school over factual incorrectness or misused words. M-W has issued so many corrections its had to clarify it is not deliberately trolling the 45th president. Clearly, this is something Merriam-Webster will be continuing to do throughout Trump’s presidency. Perhaps they should consider opening an institution of higher learning dedicated to providing correct information to Trump and his team. They could even name it after him. Trump University does have a nice ring to it after all.