God knows why they just don’t take his phone away. Or give him a fake phone with a fake Twitter account.
This is how bad it has gotten: Trump’s own advisers have gone on television and stated that Trump’s tweets are not his policy. Well, who knows? How can we tell? Would Trump agree with that?
Even this morning, Kellyanne Conway said that the media is obsessed with Trump’s tweets, implying that people should not place emphasis on them. But that is in contradiction from what others in the White House – and Trump himself — have said:
“This obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little what he does as president …” Conway said during that interview.
“That’s his preferred method of communication with the American people,” said Craig Melvin, the show’s co-host.
“That’s not true,” Conway interjected.
“Well, he hasn’t given an interview in three weeks, so lately it has been his preferred method,” Melvin replied.
Even setting aside that three-week modification, Melvin is correct that the administration has touted Twitter as being more important than media coverage. After Trump won the presidency in November, he and his team were asked if he would stop tweeting so much as president. The answer? No — because the media can’t be trusted.
Shortly after the election, Trump spoke with CBS’s Leslie Stahl, telling her how he planned to moderate his Twitter use once he was sworn in.
“I’m going to do very restrained, if I use it at all, I’m going to do very restrained,” he said. “I find it tremendous. It’s a modern form of communication. There should be nothing you should be ashamed of. It’s — it’s where it’s at.”
By January, his description of his Twitter habit was a bit less enthusiastic.
“Look, I don’t like tweeting. I have other things I could be doing. But I get very dishonest media, very dishonest press. And it’s my only way that I can counteract,” Trump told Reuters in January. That’s the theme: The media is the enemy, so Trump will tweet to the people directly.
On ABC’s “This Week” in January, incoming press secretary Sean Spicer made that same case.
And more to the point, even if his tweets are not policy, they sometimes contradict policy. And that makes for headaches for Trump’s team.
Today being a prime example. Let’s start with his first four tweets of the day (which apparently were made while watching Morning Joe on MSNBC):
Let’s start with the first tweet at the bottom, where he calls “it” a “travel ban” and a “watered down, politically correct” version of his original executive order which banned all travel from 7 mostly-Muslim nations. Arguably, Trump is showing his intent to disfavor Muslims by the executive order, a point that has doomed the executive orders in court so far. In court briefs, DOJ lawyers have said the orders are “religion-neutral” in operation, drawing “distinctions among countries based on national-security risks identified by Congress and the Executive Branch, not religion, and applies evenhandedly in the six designated countries.”
There is also a glaring problem: the revised travel ban was authored by Trump’s administration and signed by Trump himself — the Justice Department’s role is merely defending its legality. Why is he taking umbrage with the Justice Department?
In any event, his tweets this morning on the subject of the travel ban hurt his already weak case.
Next up on this morning’s hit parade, this:
Again, he was watching Fox & Friends and they were apparently talking about vacancies. Odd that he would blame the Democrats, since they do not control the Senate (who has to improve Ambassadors and other certain posts).
Almost two months ago, Politico did a story on why this is taking so long, and it has nothing to do with the Democrats:
Hundreds of key jobs across the federal government remain vacant as a result of an overworked White House personnel office that is frustrating Cabinet secretaries and hampering President Donald Trump’s ability to carry out his ambitious legislative agenda.
The process is bogged down as a result of micromanaging by the president and senior staff, turf wars between the West Wing and Cabinet secretaries and a largely inexperienced and overworked staff, say more than a dozen sources including administration insiders, lobbyists, lawyers and Republican strategists.
Trump personally oversees the hiring process for agency staff by insisting on combing through a binder full of names each week and likes to sign off on each one, according to two people with knowledge of the administration’s hiring process. Also weighing in on the names — and not always agreeing on final picks — are leaders of sometimes warring factions, including chief of staff Reince Priebus, senior strategist Steve Bannon, Cabinet secretaries and, sometimes, the White House’s top lawyer, Don McGahn.
“It’s like a medieval court,” said one person advising potential nominees through the confirmation process. “The White House meets once a week to go over personnel in some attempt to create uniformity, but in this White House, you just have to smile at that. … It’s hard to impose uniformity among the White House’s different coalitions.”
The only uniformity is that potential hires must show fealty to the president. One person close to the White House said a sense of “paranoia” has taken over amid fears that disloyal hires might undercut Trump’s agenda or leak to the press.
Another reason they are having a hard time getting positions filled? People don’t want to serve under Trump. especially with a special counsel investigation and FBI probe hanging over the White House.
Even if it were true that Dems were somehow slowing up the confirmation process, that doesn’t explain the vacancies. From the LA Times:
What’s the effect? Just eight of 120 State Department posts, including ambassadorships, that require Senate confirmation have been filled, according to the Partnership for Public Service. As a result, foreign officials and diplomats struggle to find someone to discuss trade and security issues with.
We have officially entered hurricane season with no head of NOAA and no head of FEMA.
And in the Pentagon, Trump has filled only five of the 53 top jobs – the slowest pace for nominations and confirmations in over half a century. No Army Secretary. No Navy Secretary.
The hold-up, insiders say, is Trump’s insistence on absolute loyalty… to him.
The Washington Post has a wonderful database tracker page to keep up with Trump’s lack of progress on filling key positions.
And finally, Trump’s final tweet of the morning (we hope):
This is Trump engaging in an attack against London mayor Sadiq Khan (a Muslim) when Khan said that is “no reason to be alarmed”. Trump attacked that quote, complaining that London had just had a terrorist attack, and they should be freaking out (I guess).
What happened here? Trump watched Fox News, which had truncated the quote and changed its meaning:
But Mr Trump’s criticism is based on a quotation entirely removed from its context. He appears to be confused about what happened in part because Fox News repeated the same short quote but without the full remarks from the mayor of London.
What Mr Khan actually said was that there is no reason to be alarmed about the increased police presence on the streets after the attack.
“My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today,” Mr Khan said. “You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers.
“There is no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world. You saw last night as a consequence of our planning, our preparation, the rehearsals that take place, the swift response from the emergency services tackling the terrorists and also helping the injured.”
There is no reason to be alarmed by this… with “this” referring to the increased police presence.
Rather than admit he was misquoting Khan, Trump doubled down… on the mayor of a city just attacked by terrorists.
Could it be because this particular mayor is Muslim?
Today could have been a good day for Trump — he intended to announce an infrastructure bill (which Dems could get behind). But he squandered it with these Tweets. With Comey testifying in a few days, Trump does not have many more chances to have “good days”.