For president-elect, Twitter is the new ‘fireside chat’

Donald Trump’s penchant for communicating via Twitter while ignoring mainstream media is rewriting all the rules.

Take this question, for example. If a president has chosen Twitter to communicate with the people he represents, is it ethical to “block” people from following him and, thus, hearing what he has to say?

“It makes me laugh in a way that’s not funny,” activist Heather Spohr, 37, a blogger and freelance writer, tells the Los Angeles Times. “I can’t see the tweets of the president-elect. He’s going to be my president. It’s absurd.”

“The president should speak to all Americans directly and not filter people out,” Timothy Naftali, a presidential historian at New York University, tells the Times. “Are people blocked from watching television or listening to radio when a president gives an address? The president-elect needs to get used to the idea that presidential words matter. And everyone needs access to those words.”

Whoever saw this sort of question coming?

Last night, predictably, Saturday Night Live poked at the president-elect’s love of the social media tool.

Shortly after, predictably, the president-elect issued his official response via Twitter.

Shortly after that the president-elect tackled policy in a series of tweets targeting another Indiana company threatening to leave the country.

  • Gary F

    We’ll see how this works out.

    It is great to see him drive the Dems and mainstream media(sorry for being so redundant) nuts. He stays ahead of all the editors and confronts or controls the news cycle meaning the left loses control. Nice.

    • Rob

      First, YAWN. I think there’s plenty of evidence already that foreshadows, quite chillingly, how it’s likely to work out. T.Rump’s behavior is driving anyone that cares about competency and transparency nuts, and past is prologue. Where does that leave you?

    • KTN

      Do you really think this is how a President (elect) ought to speak. I’m wondering if you would give such fawning deference to the current President for Tweeting threats and showing the thin skin cowardice the sociopath shows currently.

    • What story do you think the media would be doing if he weren’t tweeting specifically?

      • Gary F

        Pouncing on him for the little and least of things he would do. Everything thing he does will create a media outrage for the next four years.

        • How does his tweeting prevent that?

        • Rob

          T.Rump will be the one committing the outrages, and responsible media will report on them. Unfortunately for our country, they will definitely have their hands full.

        • John O.

          Oh. You mean like the outrage that occurred from Fox News, Breitbart, etc. anytime Obama did anything over the last eight years?

          He is clearly going to change many things (and already is), but I suspect he is going to especially struggle with the concept of having to deal with the legislative branch. This is despite the Republican majority in both chambers. He’s used to acting unilaterally as a sole proprietor, answering to nobody else.

          • DavidP

            I don’t think T.Rump will find congress as compliant as he anticipates. This is a Koch brothers congress, not a T.Rumpeteers base-built congress. I expect the honeymoon will be short, and I also see some early churn in the cabinet (he can and likely will fire those folks, just as they can and likely will quit).

        • DavidP

          Do you think the mainstream media will need to rely on making stuff up about T.Rump and then getting apoplectic about it?
          That was exactly SOP for the RW media/propaganda machine.

          For perhaps the first time in his life, T.Rump may actually be accountable for his words and actions. The scary part is that the whole world will suffer the consequences of his impulses.

          T.Rump reminds me of a cat chasing a laser pointer. He is dangerously easy to bait and distract.

        • crystals

          Do you think the Taiwan call was little and/or the least of things he could do? Genuinely curious.

          • Gary F

            Explain to me why the call was so bad? From what I’ve read I can’t figure out why the left is so worked up over this.

          • Gary F

            Taiwan is a democracy with a female president and a large trading partner of us. Both China and the Philippine leaders treated our President like crap last time he was over this year. Its good to open channels with developing democracies and good to have alliances when keeping China in check. Good for him.

          • Not good if it starts a shootin’ war, though.

            As an analyst on CBS said this morning: “if there’s one thing in foreign policy you need to get right, it’s the US/China relationship.”

            It wouldn’t have hurt the president-elect at all to have discussed the idea with the current administration first. That’s not a weakness.


            the issue is nowhere near left v. right, though I understand that’s the current method of minimizing discussions. That works great in the country; not sure on the international stage that brings a lot of heft to the table.

          • Gary F

            By having a relationship with China, we have some dealing power.

          • crystals

            If it were done in a strategic and thoughtful way, I might agree with you. Unfortunately, it pretty clearly was not done that way.

          • RBHolb

            Taiwan is not an independent country. Whatever else it might be, the US has, since 1978, recognized that it is a part of China.
            It is as inappropriate as it would be for the representative of a foreign power to initiate talks with secessionists in the United States. Consider the diplomatic tension with England during the Civil War.

          • John O.

            The protocol of not “recognizing” Taiwan probably traces back to Nixon’s trip to China in what, ’72? It’s been that way through both Republican and Democratic administrations. I think it is a bit of a stretch to blame this solely on the “left,” since the diplomatic community seems to be somewhat aghast.

            All these years later, trying to really understand the inner workings of the Chinese leadership always seems to have a bit of a “black box” aspect.

          • John O.

            Correction to ’79. My bad.

    • Postal Customer

      It’ll work out fine. It’s not as if anyone is going to stop him. The only thing we can do is ignore it.

    • jon

      I think the election where the democrats lost means the left has lost control come Jan. But it’s been awhile since I read the constitution…

      Though thanks for the paranoia.
      I love to hear how us leftists have all the power and you poor persecuted conservatives can’t control anything except the house, and the senate, and the presidency, and most of the governorships, and the state legislators… and as such a poor persecuted party they have no control of the narrative in this country… despite being running most of it…

      Really makes conservatives sound completely incompetent when you think about it…

  • tboom

    I’ve never understood short term moves in the stock market but would expect it to take a dive following that tweet threatening a 35% penalty for making financial decisions.

  • Rob

    Fireside chat? Looks more like flamethrowing to me. It’s clear that our incoming insomniac Child-in-Chief is bound only by the miniscule amount of impulse control that he has, and that he doesn’t give a rat’s heinie about communications protocol. We are in for an intensely chaotic and truly harrowing ride.

  • Anna

    You left out the tweet by Alec Baldwin stating he would stop his impersonations of Trump if he releases his tax returns.

    Fireside chats are intended to calm the public not bully them into complying, after all corporations are people,too.

    The president-elect seems to forget that he is no longer running his business empire, he is running the U.S. government. That is very different than saying “You’re fired.”

    He can’t fire the Democratic minority leader in the Senate or the House if they are trying to oppose a policy or decision that is not in the best interest of ALL the American people.

    His tweets are becoming a dangerous game of “cat and mouse.”

    Truth or Dare is not the most intelligent way to run the most powerful nation on earth.

    Calling the bluff of equally self-absorbed national leaders like Kim Jong Un of Korea and Rodrigo Duterte of the Phillipines is asking for the start of another world war.

    Delay of gratification is not a concept Trump understands.

    I am sure these 3 a.m. Twitter temper tantrums will continue for the foreseeable future. He’s just lucky they are limited to 140 characters. He would be really challenged mentally if he attempted anything longer than a paragraph which he attempted to do in his most recent threat toward manufacturers.

    I say give him enough political rope and he will hang himself eventually.

    • Rob

      I’m with you, though it might take close to four years before the hanging is complete.

  • KTN

    It seems to me that the sociopath might need Congress to unilaterally punish companies through increased taxes, but since it is also apparent he has never actually read the Constitution, he doesn’t know that. Has he ever read anything?
    Also, if he does not like how he’s treated as satire, maybe he should turn off the TV while he’s being skewered. They wont stop, but it is sort of fun to watch his pathetically thin skin get bruised.

  • Kassie

    It will be interesting to see if he continues to tweet from his personal account after he is sworn in. My understanding is he will be given the @potus account. Will he move to it? If not, his current twitter account would then fall under government record laws. People could do FOIA requests on his draft tweets and any Direct Messages he has. Also, I understand he has blocked people, so those people can’t see communication that is going out from the President. Would he correct that? Or have his people deal with daily FOIA requests about what the President tweets each day?