Merriam-Webster defines 'kangaroo court' after GOP uses it as impeachment defense

Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Merriam-Webster defined “kangaroo court” after it became a GOP talking point to defend President Donald Trump during the impeachment inquiry into him.  

The dictionary explained that "kangaroo court" was among their “top lookups on October 8th” after President Trump and the State Department blocked European Union Ambassador Gordan Sondland from appearing before a trio of Congressional committees to answer questions about his role in pushing Ukraine's president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Trump defended this decision by tweeting "I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public." 

Merriam-Webster said lookups for the term “kangaroo court” spiked 11,000%, and took the liberty of defining it as either "a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted" or "a court characterized by irresponsible, unauthorized, or irregular status or procedures."

They then threw shade at Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz who said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff was a “malicious Captain Kangaroo." 

"Captain Kangaroo", a children’s television show that aired from the 1955 to the 1984, was not a courtroom drama, and Captain Kangaroo himself was neither a judge nor a captain even, and was rather named a such for his large pockets. 

Merriam-Webster responded that the “origins of the word are obscure, but we can tell you that it does not have much to do with actual kangaroos. We may also assert that there is no connection, in either a semantic or etymological vein, between kangaroo court and the 20th century children's television show Captain Kangaroo. Our earliest record of use comes in 1841."

Last week, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham slammed the threat of a subpoena towards the White House as a waste of time, claiming that "The Dems can continue with their kangaroo court, the President will continue to work on behalf of this country."

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise tweeted that the “entire process has been a scam” and included the hashtag #KangarooCourt. 

Rudy Guiliani, the President’s personal attorney who is at the center of the impeachment inquiry, also included hashtag #KangarooCourt in a tweet where he asked “How hellbent are Dems in keeping the American public in the dark?”

 Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Tuesday he would like to invite Giuliani to discuss what he learned during his controversial investigation into UkraineJoe Biden and Biden's son Hunter. 

The dictionary has trolled the President before, like when they said the word of the day before former Trump fixer Michael Cohen's testimony was "grift", which means to " “to obtain (money) illicitly.” 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Merriam-Webster defines "kangaroo court" as GOP defends Trump