the lighthouse expression of the Ukrainian affair popularized by Trump's childish handwriting

Translatable by "giving-giving", the expression imposed itself in the United States and summarizes the stake of the case which is worth to Donald Trump to be targeted by a procedure of removal.

Time to Reading 4 min.

" I do not want anything. I do not want a give and take. Tell Zellinsky to do the right thing. These are the last words of the President of the United States, "read the note that read Donald Trump to the press. MARK WILSON / AFP

"I WANT NOTHING, I WANT NOTHING, I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO. " With a good rhythm and a little bass, the formula would probably be an excellent chorus for a rock song. But these words, scribbled in black felt and in capital letters on an Air Force One notebook, owe their popularity to their author and he is not a rock singer – though.

The photo revealing these notes of Donald Trump, broadcast by the agency Getty Images, was taken in the back of the American president who spoke in front of the press, after the hearing of Gordon Sondland before the Congress, Wednesday, November 20. The US ambassador to the European Union had delivered an overwhelming testimony in the context of the impeachment investigation against the US president, confirming that the White House conditioned crucial military aid in Kiev and a visit to Washington for President Volodymyr Zelensky at the opening of investigations targeting political opponents of the President of the United States, including Joe Biden.

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"I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zellinsky to do the right thing. This is the final word from the president of the United States »says the note in its entirety, rid of its repetitions and abbreviations. Shouting these words to reporters to cover the background of a helicopter, the President of the United States wanted to give his precise version of the telephone conversation he had with Gordon Sondland on September 9, about the 'Ukraine.

In response to the ambassador who asked him that day what he "Wanted from Ukraine", Donald Trump would have said: " I do not want anything. I do not want a give and take. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing. These are the last words of the President of the United States. " Words reported in much the same terms by Gordon Sondland himself during his hearing.


Beyond the various hijacks of the image that quickly bloomed online, staging the rap singer Eminem or the American reality TV starlet Snooki, this photo more than ever brings to light a Latin expression that has emerged in the debate since the beginning of the auditions: "Quid pro quo". Meaning literally "One thing for one thing" and translatable by " give and take ", the phrase is not to be confused with "misunderstanding", which has the same origin but returns in the current French language to a mistake, a misunderstanding.

If Mr. Sondland acknowledged before parliamentarians that the US president had ruled out everything " give and take " during their 9 September conversation, he nevertheless stated that there had indeed been "Quid pro quo" in the Ukrainian case. These three words refer to a key question in this scandal: did Donald Trump condemn the release of 391 million dollars of military aid to Ukraine and / or an invitation to the White House at the launch by Kiev a corruption investigation targeting Democrat Joe Biden – his possible rival for the 2020 presidential election – and his son Hunter?

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The Democrats intend to prove that this blackmail took place when Donald Trump, he, with the support of Republican parliamentarians, said that"There was no quid pro quo" – the New York Times has even drawn up a list of all their interventions in this direction. Just as he has repeatedly said that there was no "Collusion" in the Russian case, "He uses certain terms as leitmotivs, helping to consolidate their popularity and use", stresses the linguist and editorialist Ben Zimmer with Agence France-Presse.

" Corruption "

However, it is not sure that the excessive use of this obscure phrase, usually reserved for the legal field, illuminates the public opinion on an already very complicated file. "Words count, stop using the term" Quid Pro Quo "", as early as November 8th, asked thirty-three American authors in an open letter to the New York Times, pointing out that "Most people do not understand it".

Moreover, these authors argue visibly anti-Trump, who says "Quid pro quo" does not necessarily imply that there has been a crime: requiring, for example, a country that respects human rights in exchange for economic aid is the type of giving and giving that can be justified. No wonder so that some Democrats seek to rectify the shooting.

Last week, their congressional leader, Nancy Pelosi, spoke for the first time of " corruption " to qualify the suspicions weighing on the American president, a more comprehensible term, listed among the possible grounds for dismissal cited by the American Constitution.

According to Washington Post, interviews conducted discreetly by Democrats in early November with a sample of voters showed that they all considered the term " corruption " much more powerful than "Quid pro quo". But the expression may be jargonous, it seems to have now settled well in the public space, frozen in capital letters by the President of the United States.


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