Out of the Blue: the mad tweeter
June 22, 2017
We don't get storms of 140-character bursts from the guy every day of the week, but with alarming regularity, not a week goes by where Donald J. Trump picks a topic or controversy and uses the platform to weigh in on it, unencumbered by spokespeople or political influence or, really, logic.
He has given the impression that utilizing Twitter and not traditional media sources allows him to superfocus his messaging, sending info directly to his supporters (and, for that matter, anyone who'll listen) without filter. No teleprompters, no speeches written by unseen White House staffers, no fancy phrasing that might keep legal perils at bay: the way he'd like to believe it, Twitter allows followers a pure conduit into the brain of Trump.
Alas, this dependency of DJT's on Twitter is an anchor that threatens to send him and his administration to the bottom of the sea. Yes, he's able to tell the world what he's thinking at any given time, but now he's even hearing from high courts that Donald's own off-the-cuff tweets are undermining his attempts at governing.
Both Donald's original and watered-down travel bans are odious pieces of thinly veiled discrimination, and even in the last few weeks, he's doubled down on their nonsensical definitions. The White House has gone out of its way during formal briefs and press conferences to insist that the executive orders the president has signed aren't bans at all, just edicts that help preserve American lives by reassessing foreign policy in certain parts of the world. Then DJT decides to get out his bullhorn and tweet that yes, what he's trying to implement is indeed a "TRAVEL BAN" (his CAPS lock, not mine). So there!
Twitter is not a platform that insists each of its blasts are verifiable and well-phrased. In fact, as I quickly learned, the impetus for Twitter as an enterprise was not for legitimacy at all. Jack Dorsey, when asked about how the company got its name, had this to say: "We came across the word 'twitter', and it was just perfect. The definition was 'a short burst of inconsequential information,' and 'chirps from birds'. And that's exactly what the product was."
Immediacy is the main order of business, which gives Twitter such an anomalous standing among social media entities. It almost encourages users to hit "send" before reading what they've written, to have confidence in the idea that even if what you send is half-baked, poorly phrased, or outright wrong, soon there will be other tweets from other willing participants that will replace it. In a land where it would seem that only the latest contributions matter, sins even an hour or two old are forgotten.
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But that mentality only applies to the Twitterverse, and the president of the United States doesn't exclusively live there, as much as he'd like to. His tweets complaining about the motives behind the justice department putting him under investigation complicated the rounds his attorneys made on Sunday news shows this week, making either themselves or DJT out to be liars when they insisted that Donald isn't under investigation. Which is it, guys?
This is the conundrum the Worst Supporting Actor Razzie Winner (Ghosts Can't Do It — 1990) has painted himself into. In the world of Twitter, those blasts of his about Rosie O'Donnell, or Michael Flynn, or Bill Clinton are vanished things, expressions that were generated authentically, shared, and then dissolved. But even though you don't have to swear with one hand on a Bible before you send a tweet, the roundabout indelible qualities of the service are coming back to haunt our commander-in-chief.
What I keep giggling about, though, is that this is a very easily corrected scenario: Donald, stop tweeting.
I would imagine that every member of DJT's inner circle has at one point or another pleaded with the guy to put down the telephone or — even better — drop it off a cliff. If Donald Trump immediately kicked into a Twitter radio silence, everything he ostensibly wants to set in motion in terms of legislature and interpersonal squabbles would at least die down to a low simmer. Fading away entirely isn't an option, but if Donald even just took a month off of tweeting, his reputation would slightly improve on a global capacity.
Alas, the heart wants what it wants, and Don loves to tweet. Ironically, because of this, he might have a lot more free time to do it in the coming months and years.
Mike Restaino is a writer and filmmaker based out of Incline Village. He is also a founding member of the North Tahoe Democrats. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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