From Incitement to Indictment: Speech Acts of Donald Trump’s Tweets in 2020 Presidential Elections

Baseel A. AlBzour


In order to reveal how Donald Trump is crucially involved in inciting riot and instigating insurgency, this pragmatic study strictly investigates and analyzes Donald Trump’s tweets over the past months that preceded the unprecedented mob attack on the Capitol in January the 6th to impede the Congress endorsement of the US presidential elections that resulted in Biden’s victory. The analyses in this study mainly draw on Austin’s (1962) Speech Act Theory and it’s sub-versions of Searle’s (1969) and the Subsequent taxonomy of Searle (1976). Although Twitter has been created to be a social media platform, Trump used it to run the US foreign and local affairs and policies during his four-year term in office. Due to the thematic limitations and diversity of those tweets, the researcher does not by any means intend to explore Trump’s tweets during the first three years; rather, she primarily focuses on examining the last year because it has abundantly and crucially witnessed what Trump really DID with words in his tweets, and this is the utter essence of Austin’s How to Do Things with Words. The tweets he made were not pragmatically representatives nor expressives as they might look; rather, most of them were directives and commissives in force oftentimes so that he exploited millions of Americans to rally violent support for him in his ignoble and criminal cause as well as rallying thousands to attack the Us emblem of democracy and freedom in the “Land of the Brave and the Land of Free” as furious crowds stormed and breached the Capitol’s barriers while the Congress Session was convening to certify the then president-elect’s victory. Such a huge load of explicit and an implicit incitement has lead to the attempt of second time impeachment of an incumbent president in the history of the united states and the ongoing legal endeavors of Trump’s indictment months after he left the oval office.


Austin, Commissives, Directives, Representatives, Searle, Speech Act Theory, Pragmatics, Trump’s Incitement And Indictment

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