A purported copy of United States President Donald Trump’s December 20 2019 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on Reddit’s r/therewasanattempt one day later, with a big red markup around a hidden message reading “Fuck you, cunt”:
Beneath letterhead and the date, the message was addressed to “The Honorable Nancy Pelosi.”
We’ve transcribed and highlighted the supposed message in boldface:
Dear Madam Speaker,
Frankly, we do not agree on much, but I will agree with you that the Founders of the United States of America did have much foresight in establishing our beautiful country. For that, I promise to present a State of the Union address in February, and I keep my promises.
You and both houses of Congress shall receive an address on the successful state of our economy, our dealings with allies and foes alike, and the biggest threats to our Union. I am eager to hear your response after my remarks.
Congress will need to work together with me to solve the many issues before us. Unnecessary distractions will only serve to undermine what keeps our Union a union. Nevertheless, you are free to pursue what you wish. Merry Christmas, and may Two-Thousand Twenty be a bounteous year for us all.
Donald J. Trump
President of the United States of America
Secret messages hidden in politically charged letters in an acrostic format is not unheard of, particularly in recent years. In August 2017, resignation letters from former State Department science envoy Daniel Kammen and member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (and actor) Kal Penn both contained acrostic hidden messages which became viral news.
On Twitter, users used the same red line or circle to highlight the acrostic created by Kammen, which read “IMPEACH.” Penn’s acrostic read “RESIST,” and it was similarly emphasized in numerous prominent tweets and subsequent articles.
On WhiteHouse.gov’s “Statements & Releases” page, two December 20 2019 entries were addressed to “Madam Speaker” (Nancy Pelosi.) Neither of the two letters matched the “fuck you, cunt” version circulating on social media. Trump did send Pelosi a more widely shared and emotionally charged letter [PDF], but it was far longer, dated December 17 2019, and contained no hidden message that we could find.
Pelosi also sent a letter to Trump on December 20 2019, inviting him to give a State of the Union speech in February 2020. He accepted.
A reverse image search returned a few results (primarily from Reddit and Imgur), and then a larger share of results for a letter from Trump to Kim Jong Un canceling a May 2018 summit. That image was the closest visual match to the hidden message letter purportedly sent to Pelosi:
READ President Trump’s letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un canceling their summit. pic.twitter.com/3xXYHwQwTC
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 24, 2018
Although President Trump did send correspondence to Pelosi on December 17 and 20 2019, the “fuck you, cunt” letter was not among those missives. Acrostic hidden messages such as the one Trump supposedly sent Pelosi went massively viral in August 2017; in contrast, the supposed message seen above was not reported in the news despite being far more newsworthy than the “IMPEACH” and “RESIST” iterations.