Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Even Republicans are worried about Trump's Twitter habit

His tweets are mainly fired off at ungodly hours of the morning, and you can almost imagine him sitting up in bed, Melania fast asleep in her rejuvenating face mask, (self-)righteous steam emitting from his ears, anger management techniques long forgotten or ignored. No other national leader comes close to Trump's use of Twitter, and you can see why - it is the least presidential and the most unforgiving of social media outlets, and Trump has used it to shoot himself in the foot over and over again.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House principal deputy press secretary (now, THERE's a title!) has confirmed, if any confirmation were needed, that Trump's tweets are not vetted by lawyers or aides, and indeed it is difficult to imagine a little bespectacled policy wonk in that bed too. She claims that Trump likes Twitter as a means of communicating directly with the people "without the bias of the media filtering those kinds of communication".
But many Republicans are now questioning whether media bias might not be preferable to the kinds of holes Trump digs for himself and his party almost daily, all on his very ownsome. It's like he just can't resist a Twitter tirade, such as his out-of-context diatribe this week against London mayor Sadiq Khan, when everyone around him knows he should be showing some restraint and focusing on the many other domestic issues that are currently spiralling out of control. He just can't resist unnecessary and ill-advised needling, like his tweets against his own Justice Department, which he says forced through a "politically correct" and "watered down" Muslim ban (and yes, Trump uses the word "ban" in his tweets, contradicting the best efforts of his own staff). You could forgive a teenager for such poor judgement, but this is the supposed leader of the supposed free world!
Twitter as a medium of communication seems poorly suited as a means of directing the national and international policy of what is - at least for now - the most powerful country in the world. For Trump to use it to stir up the Saudi/Qatar/Iran hornets' nest, for example, as he did just this week, just seems plain wrong, not to mention scary. By its very nature, Twitter lends itself to off-the-cuff, flippant comments, and not potentially world-shaking policy changes that require deep thought and in-depth multi-agency discussions. Unfortunately, Mr. Trump, by HIS very nature, seems unable to distinguish between these very different activities.
As FBI director James Comey gears up to give some highly anticipated and potentially damaging evidence later this week, some high profile Republican talking heads are warning that Trump's Twitter habit is undermining his credibility and even directly impeding progress of his own political agenda. Several well-known GOP personalities, like lawyer George Conway, former advisor Barry Bennett, veteran consultant Rick Tyler, and senior Senator John Cornyn, have spoken out about it recently.
I have little or no sympathy for Trump or the Republicans, but nevertheless it is sad to see the presidency of a once-great country sink to these depths. And for a powerful world leader to use a trivial social media tool - typically used by teenagers to tell their friends what they had for dinner, for example - to conduct national and international state policy is just plain inappropriate. VERY BAD!!

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