WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a recent interview with The Economist, President Trump told the interviewer he was the one who coined the term “priming the pump.”
As reported in The Hill, Trump believed he was the first to use the expression, though the Merriam-Webster Twitter account later sub-tweeted the president and let the world know the phrase had been around since at least the 1930’s.
“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,” Trump said during an interview with editors for The Economist. (source)
Though on the face it seems like an outlandish claim to anyone who’d heard the phrase in any context that didn’t include Mr. Trump, as is his style, he has doubled-down on the claim, and expanded it to include other phrases that heretofore were considered part of the common lexicon.
“Of course I invented ‘prime the pump,'” Trump told reporters from Breitbart and The Moscow Times from the Oval Office, “I remember the day very clearly. I was laying in bed with my First Lady, and I turned to Ivanka. I told her I’d come up with this great new phrase that meant to get something prepared for another thing. When I told her, she literally said that was the first time she’d ever heard that phrase and that it might be the best, most important phrase ever invented in the history of things.”
The president then told reporters which phrases and axioms were actually his intellectual property.
“I made up that thing you do when you enter a room and ask someone how they’re doing,” Trump said, “but instead of saying all that you just go, ‘What’s up?’ Successful people know time is money, and ‘What’s up?’ cuts out so many useless words.”
'Pump priming' has been used to refer to government investment expenditures since at least 1933. https://t.co/VfkGwwzZRC
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) May 11, 2017
There were many phrases Trump accredits to himself.
“Sike,” Trump said, “sike was all me. I remember the first time I used it. I looked at Reince Priebus and told him he could count on me to run the country in a mature, reasoned, rational way that belies how much intellect, compassion, and preparation I’ve put into the role of a lifetime. Then I waited two seconds and yelled, ‘Sike!’ Then I did that thing where I put the ‘okay’ symbol on my knee, he looked at it, and I got to punch Reince in his arm.”
The president is considering asking for a copyright on the phrase “priming the pump,” he told the press in the room. If he gets it, he’ll make sure that no one uses the phrase without paying a royalty to Trump Enterprises, which he said in no way violates any conflict of interest laws, even if he has to force the copyright office to grant his copyright by executive fiat.
“Sometimes you just gotta do whats best for you,” Trump said, “and hope it turns out okay for the country. Which of course is the exact reasoning a lot of Republicans used to vote for me. So that’s nice. Convenient.”
Follow James on Twitter @JamesSchlarmann.