I get it. Ivanka Trump was nervous. Yesterday was a big moment on the world stage, even though she's been there before. But this was a big deal that her husband helped put together. And even though most Middle East experts said that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem was a truly horrible idea -- which turned out to be true with 55 people killed and over 1,700 injured -- still, he's her husband and in charge of Middle East peace, so it was even more exciting than usual.
So, I get it. Under such high profile world attention, any senior adviser to the president can get the "of" part wrong when saying in the name of the country. "The United States on America." It's close, after all. Just one letter off. And people knew which country she was talking about.
(By the way, when I first read about her getting the name of the country wrong by saying "on" rather than "of," I figured it was one of those things where it sort of, kind of sounds a little like maybe she might have said "on," but didn't really. But later when I saw the video -- nope, she says "on." It's clear. I still watched it three times to be sure, but it doesn't change. "The United States on America.")
Yes, yes, I know. It's just a verbal gaffe. It doesn't actually mean anything. A little oops. George W. Bush stumbled over words all the time. Though in fairness, his were usually multi-syllable and were never the actual name of the country.
But still, it's nothing more than a slip of the tongue.
Mind you, I'm not fully certain why she was there speaking in the first place, or why it was thought a good idea for her husband to speak (particularly being under investigation and without a security clearance that brings the efficacy of doing his job in question) as official representatives of the U.S. government and State Department. Or why, for that matter, the previous U.S. ambassador to Israel during the Obama Administration -- and who currently lives in Israel as a teaching fellow -- wasn't even invited. But that's all a separate matter. This is about something else entirely, just making a minor goof-up when giving a public speech. And I understand. People stumble over their words all the time. We all do. Especially if nervous. It doesn't necessarily speak to larger issues. It's an accidental flub, the verbal equivalent of a typo.
In the end, when I heard it, my immediate reaction was very forgiving. I figured -- hey, if her dad can screw up the country, it's not remotely as bad a thing when she does the same to just its name.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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