US President-elect Donald Trump got plenty of attention after a tweet calling out China for its seizure of an unmanned US naval probe.
“China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters — rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented (sic) act,” the real estate magnate wrote on his favorite platform. He meant ‘unprecedented’.
“Unpresidented” however quickly became a top trending topic on Twitter in the United States, as online wags savaged the incoming president for the misspelling.
“TrumpSpellCheck — Unpresidentedly effective,” tweeted “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling.
“Dear world, most Americans really wish we could be #unpresidented,” another user wrote.
Even dictionary Merriam-Webster weighed in.
“The #WordOfTheDay is… not ‘unpresidented’. We don’t enter that word. That’s a new one,” it tweeted.
Trump deleted his tweet after about an hour, replacing it with one correctly using the word “unprecedented.”
China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 17, 2016
While many mocked the deeply divisive political novice, famous for his verbal tics and gaffes, supporters jumped to his defense and said critics were piling on about a typo while ignoring the bigger problem.
Hours after his first tweet, Trump returned to his preferred forum of Twitter to write: “We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!”
Trump was referring to China’s seizure on Thursday of an unmanned US naval probe in international waters of the South China Sea, a serious provocation amid rising tensions between the two major powers.
Trump has repeatedly infuriated Beijing in recent weeks, questioning longstanding US policy on Taiwan, calling Beijing a currency manipulator and threatening to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports.
Unknown to Trump, it was not the first time China would impound an American espionage gadget.
In 2001 China impounded an American spy plane, stripped it before releasing it to the United States government.
In August, it also shot down a CIA chemtrail plane over Shanghai