Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday August 18 2017
Donald Trump is burning every bridge he can, 1 tweet at a time
Before 9:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, the President of the United States had already:
- Attacked not one but two sitting senators of his own party.
- Savaged the “fake” news media.
- Tripled down on his comments regarding the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia.
- Echoed the rhetoric of the far right by insisting that our “culture” was being destroyed by the cult of political correctness.
Donald Trump did all of these things via Twitter — starting at 6:19 a.m. ET with a tweet alleging that “publicity seeking” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) had purposely contorted his comments after the violent white supremacist protests over the weekend and ending at 9:21 a.m. ET with a slippery slope argument that liberals were responsible for the “beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks” by calling for the removal of statues honoring Confederates.
So, for three hours — at least — the most powerful person in the world was glued to social media, gleefully settling scores.
This is not a new reality for Trump. Since he became a candidate, he has used Twitter as a combination of a focus group and a blowtorch.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump would regularly try out new attack lines — “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco” — on Twitter to see if his fans responded to them. If they did, those attacks were quickly inserted into his stump speech or his debate answers.
He would also use Twitter to fight back against his critics, to lambast the media and to, generally speaking, provoke. (Never forget: Trump is, at root, a provocateur more than he is a politician.)
Despite his promises to be “so presidential you will be so bored” if elected, Trump hasn’t changed one iota. That’s most obvious in his Twitter habits. While he went through patches — a few days, maybe a week — early in his presidency when he would lay off Twitter entirely or only tweet his speeches or other more generic political pap, Trump has always returned to his Twitter addiction with a vengeance.
His tweets have produced many of the defining moments of his presidency — none of which are good. His March tweet that President Barack Obama had wire-tapped Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign sparked weeks of questions — zero of which he could answer. His repeated attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell helped to turn Republicans in the Senate against him. His personal attack on MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski was roundly denounced by politicians — and humans — of all stripes. (Source: CNN)
Meanwhile, for about two hours on Monday August 21, weather permitting, the entire US should see the moon slide in front of the sun. The last solar eclipse to slice across the entire continent happened 99 years ago; unlike that event, this eclipse will occur in an era of record internet usage — one in which 95% of American adults own a mobile phone. (Source: Business Insider)