Donald Trump has taken a unique approach to announcing his decisions as President of the United States. Instead of having the White House release an official statement or holding a press conference, his favored method of communication with the masses is Twitter, a social media platform commonly used by celebrities such as Taylor Swift and Kanye West. It’s really quite shocking how much damage 140 characters can do. At this point, it seems he cannot make public statements longer than that without a teleprompter or a written response in front of him. We’ve all seen the outcome of him speaking in person- lots of pauses, off-topic statements, and lashing out at seemingly innocent bystanders. Is it possible that there is a more unprepared human being in the field of public speaking? All of his speeches have been almost robotically delivered, and when he goes off script, it usually ends in a controversial statement no amount of playing nice with the press can fix.
So why does Trump favor Twitter? Is it because he can sit with his phone in his tiny hands and think about what he’s going to “say” for hours before actually sending it in contrast to the quick thinking required for press conferences? Is it because his advisors prefer him to use Twitter so there’s a smaller chance of him offending someone horribly? Is it because he doesn’t want people to make any more montages of him sniffing?
After he was inducted into office on January 20, Donald Trump gained access to the official Twitter account of the President of the United States. Before he was the President, Barack Obama warned Trump against using Twitter as a platform for his personal opinions and even for announcing government related news. In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Obama said, “On the one hand information is moving quick …or the way in which people consume information is changing so fast. Clearly this worked for him, and it gives him a direct connection to a lot of the people that voted for him. I’ve said to him… that the day that he is the President of the United States, there are world capitals and financial markets and people all around the world who take really seriously what he says.” Having the President of the United States on Twitter complaining about leaders of countries we trade with (he called European leaders “weak leaders”) is not appropriate or advantageous for our country.
Since declaring his candidacy for president in June 2015, Trump has directly insulted a total of 325 people, places, and things just on Twitter. There is a website documenting all of them; I recommend checking it out for a good laugh. Compiled by the New York Times, it lists every single one of them in alphabetical order of the “victim”, with everything from Hillary Clinton (he has called her “crooked” a stunning total of 216 times since June 2015) to the Ted Cruz campaign (“bad!”) to “a podium in the Oval Office” (“not good”) to the Republican party and Republicans in general (“naïve”, “disloyal”, “don’t know how to win”). This list includes the tweets made after his inauguration.
It is clear that Donald Trump using Twitter to deliver news to the public is an unstable method of communication. While he doesn’t have to worry about people imitating his facial expressions when he posts a Tweet, he should be worrying about how his Tweets from the past are affecting our relationships with Iran (“Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!”, “doing many bad things behind our backs”, “playing with fire”) and the way our country is perceived by other nations worldwide (China: “Terrible!”). His staff literally took away his Twitter privileges last November like he’s a volatile teenage boy. Having the leader of (arguably) the most powerful country in the world ranting about FOX News and Marco Rubio on one of the most used social media platforms is dangerous. Maybe if we Tweet him enough, he’ll finally listen.