Look, spelling isn't everyone's forte. It's certainly not one of President Trump's stronger skills. But though he misspelled a prominent diss in a Friday tweet, it wasn't solely the grammatical error that had Twitter abuzz. Rather, Trump calling James Comey "shadey" brought rapper Eminem immediately to the minds of many — and demonstrated the unique joys of real-time commentary made possible by Twitter.
Of course, many Twitter responses pointed out the proper "shady" spelling, but at this point, it's hardly news that the president struggles with spelling. To date, Trump has tweeted that Ted Cruz would "loose" to Hillary Clinton, accused China of an "unpresidented" act, said he was "honered" to serve, accused Obama of installing a wire "tapp" on his phone, and kicked off international debate over the meaning of nonsense word "covfefe." People magazine is keeping a running list of Trump's various and continuing free-form spellings, and "shadey" will no doubt join the compilation soon.
What many users jumped on was the obvious connection to Eminem's breakout hit single "The Real Slim Shady."
Trump's original tweet complained that his former national security adviser Michael Flynn faced federal charges while "Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book."
Comey recently released A Higher Loyalty, which includes details about his interactions with Trump as FBI director (before he was fired, obviously). Politifact describes the book as a "devastating character study of President Donald Trump." In the memoir, Comey depicts Trump as "unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values" as well as a person who approaches leadership as "transactional, ego driven, and about personal loyalty."
It's pretty easy to see why Trump wouldn't like it. And as a famously self-styled "counter-puncher," Trump swatted back at Comey with the "shadey" moniker.
And oh, was Twitter ever here for that.
"Shadey" is hardly the worst thing Trump has called Comey. The New York Times has a thorough rundown of the longstanding contention between the president and his former FBI director. Besides labeling Comey a "slimeball," Trump has also insinuated that Comey ought to face prison time. In an April 15 tweet, Trump wrote, "How come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn’t they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe’s $700,000 & more?"
Trump's also dubbed Comey a "nut job" and "showboat."
The New York Times is keeping a regularly updated list of all the "People, Places, And Things Donald Trump Has Insulted On Twitter." Right now, that number stands at 446. Comey has earned a decent showing on the list, though his tally of Trump insult tweets pales in comparison to the president's more regular punching bags — "mainstream" media in general, and CNN and the New York Times in particular.
The Times list is a useful reminder that Trump is an equal opportunity insult artist. Hillary Clinton was a regular target, but so were former Republican rivals like Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio. Even current allies — Jeff Sessions, for instance — can find themselves on Trump's bad side. In July 2017, Trump called Sessions "VERY weak" on Hillary Clinton.
If Comey is in the hot seat with Trump, he's also managed to earn himself few friends on the other side of the aisle. Many Democrats — including Hillary Clinton herself — place significant blame for her election loss on Comey's letter revealing a review of additional emails possibly "pertinent to the investigation" into Clinton's use of a private server as secretary of state, which he sent in late October 2016. "I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey's letter on Oct. 28 and Russian Wikileaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off," Clinton told a crowd at the Women to Women conference last May.
No doubt Twitter will be recording the Trump-Comey feud for as long as it lasts. And the present and near-future of that documentation promises to include plenty of jokes about the "real" Shady Comey.