The president made the goof while tweeting about his recent decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, which has drawn bipartisan criticism. The withdrawal allowed the incursion of Turkish military, who led an offensive against the American-allied Kurdish forces, killing scores of Kurdish fighters and civilians and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
A subsequent U.S.-brokered ceasefire, which Trump referenced in his tweet, was negotiated with Turkey on Thursday. The agreement effectively allows Turkey to secure significant swaths of Syrian land while displacing America’s Kurdish allies.
A statement from the Syrian Democratic Forces Sunday said Turkish forces continued to advance and launch attacks despite the ceasefire agreement. Turkey’s Defense Ministry said there had been 22 violations of the agreement, according to CNN.
On Sunday, as a senior administration official told The New York Times the president was leaning toward a new Pentagon plan to keep a small number of troops in Syria, in order to block Syrian and Russian forces from obtaining access to the region’s oil fields and to fight ISIS.
Under this plan, a few hundred troops would be moved to the border with Iraq, the senior administration official told the Times, contradicting Trump’s claim he was “bringing soldiers home.” Hundreds of trucks carrying U.S. personnel were seen traveling toward the Iraqi border Sunday.
The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
The president’s tweet, sent that same day, was mocked on Twitter, with people highlighting other errors ― besides the glaring “Esperanto” gaffe ― in the text.
It was deleted and reissued with Esper’s name spelled correctly around 90 minutes later, but people took other issues with the tweet’s content:
So much wrong in this tweet. US troops are not coming home, they are going to Iraq. We don’t have the oil. And the Defense Secretary’s name is not “Esperanto.” https://t.co/1Dq7kHfIhy— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) October 20, 2019
I’m not sure who Trump is referring to, but I’m travelling with Defense Secretary Esper and cant recall the quote Trump is using. While speaking with us Enroute to Afghanistan, Esper also made no mention of new areas being resettled with Kurds or oil. pic.twitter.com/VAN9IQ13At— Idrees Ali (@idreesali114) October 20, 2019
I am on the same trip and did not hear Esper mention resettled Kurds or oil. Or a name change. https://t.co/3rgvHrmDLf— Nancy Youssef, نانسي يوسف (@nancyayoussef) October 20, 2019
Mark Esperanto is not the Secretary of Defense.— Jim Himes (@jahimes) October 20, 2019
The ceasefire is not holding up.
No areas are being resettled with Kurds.
We have not secured the oil.
We’re not bringing soldiers home. They’re going to Iraq.
Otherwise a “perfect” tweet. pic.twitter.com/4QT56rS8Bv
And people couldn’t help but ridicule the obvious “Esperanto” mistake:
Mark Esperanto = Mark Esper— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) October 20, 2019
Tim Apple = Tim Cook
Mike Pounce = Mike Pence
Mike Bolton = John Bolton
Betanyahu = Netanyahu
Ron Ryan = Paul Ryan
Steve McCarthy = Kevin McCarthy
Marillyn Lockheed = Marillyn Hewson
Donald Trump = Donald Trump
Ah yes, our SecDef Mark Esperanto, along with our Secretary of State, Mike Despacito. pic.twitter.com/Xqx9hX77S1— Justin Fleenor 🔁 (@JustinFleenor) October 20, 2019
Someone's phone converted Esper into Esperanto. The result is the president misspelling the name of his own defense secretary. Shouldn't these tweets be, you know, proofread? pic.twitter.com/ONlkLLiMrd— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 20, 2019
Lighter tweeting today as I try to bone up on my Esperanto.— George Conway (@gtconway3d) October 20, 2019
Mark Esperanto was preceeded in the office by James Mattilingo. pic.twitter.com/289qFWu3r6— Stonekettle (@Stonekettle) October 20, 2019
I believe Mark Esperanto serves alongside Treasury secretary Steve Munchkin and USTR Robert Lightsaber pic.twitter.com/hv0XS9c2Sy— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) October 20, 2019
Esperanto is beautiful this time of year.— Emily Brandwin (@CIAspygirl) October 20, 2019
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.