Trend Watch

Trump: 'Extreme Vetting'

Lookups for 'vet' spiked after Trump signed an executive action that would suspend the entry of refugees into the United States

Vet spiked in lookups on the afternoon of January 27th, 2017, after the U.S. President signed an executive action that would block the entry of refugees for 120 days. Trump has said that the order, which also suspends immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, is part of his plan to impose "extreme vetting."

Trump called the vetting procedures he would put in place “totally extreme” during an interview with Fox News on Thursday. “We're going to have extreme vetting for people coming into our country and if we think there's a problem, it's not going to be so easy for people to come in anymore,” he said.
The Los Angeles Times, 27 January 2017

According to drafts of the executive action obtained by CNN, the order bars all persons from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen from entering the United States for 30 days and suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated "only for nationals of countries for whom" members of Trump's Cabinet deem can be properly vetted., 27 January 2017

"We’ve taken in tens of thousands of people; we know nothing about them," Trump said Thursday in an interview on Fox News. "They can say they vet them, they didn’t vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don’t know anything about them and you have no papers? How do you vet them? You can’t.”, 27 January 2017

As a verb vet has several senses: it may refer to the providing of medical care (to an animal or a person), or to evaluate a person or thing, either as an appraisal, or for approval. It is the last of these senses that was being employed by President Trump.

Although it is commonly supposed that this verb sense of vet is derived from the noun veteran (“a former member of the armed forces”), it actually comes from the veterinary meaning. Although both veteran and veterinarian began to be shortened to vet in the 19th century, it was the animal doctor which lent its abbreviated form to the verb (“to subject a person or animal to a physical examination or checkup”), which then shifted in meaning to the sense in which it is was employed by Trump (“to evaluate for possible approval or acceptance”).

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