April 11, 2017
Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or somewhere in between, you can probably agree that Donald Trump has an immense presence on Twitter. Trump’s Twitter account has seen major media attention since the beginning of his campaign. Now, in his presidency, his animated use continues to influence the American people. Some Americans find his tweets to be charismatic, while others find them to be narcissistic. Regardless, his Twitter gains him a lot of attention among his supporters and non-supporters; maintaining his reality-star status even while holding the most powerful position in the world.
Perhaps the most criticized aspect of Donald Trump’s Twitter feed is his relentless attacks on other politicians, media sources, and Mexico. A lot can be said in 140 characters, and Trump is very straight-forward with his opinions on any given topic, place, or person. His tweets seem to focus on trivial drama and self-centered agendas, rather than the issues at hand. After the Orlando shooting in 2016, Trump tweeted “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”. TIME magazine commented: “Trump is self-centered even in moments of tragedy” (Frizell, 2016). More recently, after a shooting in London, Trump took to Twitter, not to offer his condolences to the city of London and the families of those killed, but to criticize the mayor. In response to a statement by Mayor Sadiq Khan, he simply says: “Are you kidding me?!”, which triggered major backlash from residents of London and otherwise. A British reporter, Wes Streeting, responded to Trump’s tweet by saying “You use a terrorist attack on our city to attack London’s Mayor for your own political gain. You’re a disgrace” (CNN, 2017). The content that Trump posts on his Twitter account has been consistent since before he was involved in politics; he has not made an effort to filter his personal opinions or to mask his motives.
While his Twitter feed is undoubtedly horrifying, there is no denying that Trump has used the social media platform to his benefit. Trump knows how to stay relevant with his use of Twitter. Every controversial tweet that he posts, he gains more and more media attention. “Mr. Trump has mastered Twitter in a way no candidate for president ever has, unleashing and redefining its power as a tool of political promotion, distraction, score-settling, and attack” (Barbaro, 2015), stated the New York Times. Trump’s Twitter account has completely defined his campaign, and has continued to define his presidency. America’s support, disgust, fascination, etc. of Trump’s 140-character assertions have given him more attention and status than any other president. New Jersey’s state website has compiled a list of Trump’s “least presidential” tweets. Included in the list is his statement: “Interesting how President Obama so haltingly said I ‘would never be president’ – This from perhaps the worst president in U.S. history!”. While New Jersey’s list is just one of probably thousands on the internet, I find his harsh criticism of President Obama to be especially humorous, considering the reputation he has already built for himself, only months into his term.
Author: Ava Schwemler, Public Communications student at the University of Vermont.
Faculty Advisor: Rob Williams, University of Vermont.
Barbaro, Michael. “Pithy, Mean and Powerful: How Donald Trump Mastered Twitter for 2016.”The New York Times. The New York Times, 05 Oct. 2015. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
Frizell, Sam. “Orlando Shooting: Donald Trump Faces Backlash for Tweets.” Time. Time, 12 June 2016. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
Orjoux, Theodore Schleifer and Alanne. “London Mayor Shuts down Trump Jr. Tweet: I Have More Important Things to Do.” CNN. Cable News Network, 23 Mar. 2017. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.