Donald Trump has been active on Twitter since 2009, avaraging on 11 tweets per day to a total of over 35 000 tweets. For those who take the time to go through the statements, they can basically find every self-contradiction imaginable. Like this one:
And despite once calling his Twitter “so powerful that I can actually make my enemies tell the truth“, Trump revealed earlier this year that he doesn’t like Twitter. “I don’t like tweeting, I have other things I could be doing.” The reason, he continued, is that it’s the best way he can counteract “the dishonest press” and tell his true, totally-not-self-contradictory, opinions.
But it’s not just the media he passes by via his Twitter feed. His aides, co-workers, party-members and supporters are increasingly alarmed by how he frequently contradicts the stories they have been sharing with the media to defend his policies.
I pointed out in my last blog post that Trump contradicted the White House story on his firing of FBI director James Comey by blatantly stating in an interview that he made the decision himself independently of any advice from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, as well as stating on Twitter that he can share any information he wants with Russian officials even though the official White House story to that point had been that he didn’t share any sensitive information.
This kind of inconsistency between Trump and his aides has escalated exponentially the last couple of days. After news broke on how presidential advisor and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner in December 2016 suggested to the Russian ambassador that a secret back channel of communication should be set up between Moscow and Trump’s transition team, the White House reply communicated by Kellyanne Conway and others was that these kinds of channels are set up all the time. But then Trump retweeted a Fox News report that suggested that Kushner had not suggested the communication line at all, which the White House officials had assumed.
It gets worse. Trump’s controversial attempt to stop refugees from entering the United States along with millions of people from and with citizenship in several Muslim-majority countries, has been facing major legal setbacks as state courts have been stopping the order, saying that’s it’s disciminatory against Muslims. The case has now entered the Supreme Court, and White House officials like John Kelly and Sean Spicer have been careful to emphasize that it’s not a “travel ban”, since such language clearly indicates that it’s the people from those countries that the US wants to get rid off, rather than implementing a temporary paus on migration.
And here comes the president:
Legal experts point out that this is probably very damaging to Trump winning in the Supreme Court. It even made George Conway, husband of Trump advisor and constant defender Kellyanne Conway, sigh:
We’re not done. Recently, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states cut their ties to Qatar based on their promotion of wahhabism and, indirectly, terrorism. This is diplomatically problematic for the US, since it has vital military cooperation with Qatar, including the al-Udeid air base, as well as with Saudi Arabia (that also, ironically, promotes wahhabism). White House officials said that US policy towards Qatar remain and that they urge for deescalation of this potential Middle East conflict. And then Trump opened his Twitter app:
See what I mean? In all of these cases, Trump’s aides quickly shifts to damage control in order to de-emphasize and de-radicalize what the president has just stated. This, needless to say, is not an easy job. Kellyanne Conway said that the media is obsessed with Trump’s Twitter and takes it too seriously, despite praising it some months earlier because it lets Trump communicate his real thoughts to the people directly.
Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, similar to Conway: “I do think that the media obsesses over every period, dot.” Sebastian Gorka, a senior White House national security official, said to CNN about Trump’s tweets: “It’s not policy… It’s social media. You know the difference, right?”
Then the president bizarrely responded:
Isn’t that cute? Because the media reports that Trump’s aides and legal experts want him to use Twitter more cautiously, Trump thinks the media wants to silent him. He really seems unable to understand that he undercuts his own efforts at making policies by using Twitter so recklessly.
In fact, during his presidential campaign, several of Trump’s aides tried to stop him from using Twitter because he was too unreliable, risking to damage the whole campaign. After he had won he got his Twitter back, along with nuclear launch codes. Isn’t that weird?
Trump’s aides, and supporters with insights in how the president uses Twitter, clearly are uncomfortable with it. Trump critics like myself think that most of what he writes is hilarious and/or horrible And even the president himself, as we saw above, doesn’t really like using Twitter.
So nobody likes Trump’s Twitter. Its only benefit lies in its potential to impeach him.
Micael Grenholm is editor for PCPJ. Having studied theology as well as peace and development studies in Uppsala, Sweden, Micael Grenholm’s passion is to combine charismatic spirituality with activism for peace and justice. Apart from editing pcpj.org he vlogs for the YouTube channel Holy Spirit Activism and is active with evangelism and apologetics both locally and online.