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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Staff Editorial: Commander-in-Tweet must exercise control of online presence


    It is the start of a new year and President Donald Trump continues to broadcast announcements and communicate to the American public through his favorite social media platform: Twitter. Although recent presidents have used technology to connect with the people, Trump’s use of Twitter is uniquely unpresidential because he constantly hurls petty insults, unsubstantiated claims, and his personal opinions on controversial topics circulating on the Internet. With such power and influence available at his fingertips, the president should be more conscious of his actions and their repercussions on social media.  

    Trump primarily uses his main personal account, @realDonaldTrump, to voice his opinions to his 46.8 million followers. He also has an official Twitter account, @POTUS, that he uses to retweet the tweets from his personal account.

    According to an ongoing list compiled by the New York Times, Trump has insulted 424 people, places, and things on Twitter. These include Congress, former President Barack Obama, presidential candidates, companies, international figures, athletes and more. In particular, Trump focuses on attacking the media by labeling them as “fake news.”

    Furthermore, certain tweets by Trump are unsubstantiated, including wiretapping allegations, claims that New York Times is “failing”, and most recently, his denial of Michael Wolff’s access to the White House. In March 2017, Trump accused Obama of wiretapping his phones at Trump Tower prior to the election without providing any sources or evidence, which was quickly refuted by former FBI director James Comey.

    “With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI,” stated Comey.

    Trump’s unsupported yet bold claims such as these discredits the president’s professional appearance even further, causing some to speculate how much research and fact checking the president conducts before posting his blurbs.

    Trump’s activities on Twitter also extends to trivial or controversial messages and videos. This past September, Trump retweeted a GIF of him hitting Clinton with a golf ball after swinging his club. Almost a year after the 2016 election, Trump still finds humor in mocking his political rivals, which further reinforces his volatility on social media. In July, the president tweeted another questionable video in which he punched an edited man representing CNN.

    Not only is Trump sharing incendiary content that has seemingly minor immediate consequences for the president, but his tweets have the potential to influence international politics as well. He sparked more controversy in November when he retweeted videos allegedly highlighting Muslims attacking non-Muslims.

    Officials at the State Department reportedly told the White House they were concerned Donald Trump’s inflammatory tweeting could trigger protests at US embassies around the world,” reported The Independent.

    Trump should tweet with more formality and analyze the possible aftermaths of each tweet because any slight misinterpretation in the president’s messages can result in a catastrophic shift in foreign policy.

      Among the many important responsibilities associated with the presidency, these criticisms and mean-spirited attacks on Twitter seem petty and irrelevant. The fact that the president would stoop so low to address certain issues that have insignificant national political concern might be an indicator of his personal insecurities. Therefore, it is imperative that Trump realizes what he posts online can improve or damage America’s reputation, not just his own, so his actions on social media should be more representative of the prestige that is commonly associated with the presidency.

       Trump should behave in a more professional and presidential manner by holding press conferences more frequently and considering the implications of his controversial tweets before posting. Such informal use of social media demeans the image and erodes the credibility of the presidency. Furthermore, he should lessen the insults in this already politically divided country and instead aim on spreading positive messages to unite the nation.

      Although Twitter can be an outlet for rants, Trump should show a bit more restraint, judgement, and decency in his messages in order to uphold the revered profile of the presidency. With great power comes great responsibility, and Trump seems to understand power more than the responsibility.

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    Staff Editorial: Commander-in-Tweet must exercise control of online presence