Stevens County Times Editorial: Trump must stop tweets
President Donald Trump needs to stop tweeting. At the very least, he needs to stop tweets that are divisive, sometimes incoherent and even silly and seem impulsive at best.
Past presidents have all used various forms of media to address the nation from the fireside radio chats by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to regular news briefings by more recent presidents. It's not wrong for a president to use a twitter account in 2017. Twitter is a practical way to reach an audience quickly and it expands the audience that is reached with with other social media, print, TV and radio outlets.
But, too often, Trump uses Twitter like a celebrity. We expect Kim Kardashian or movie celebrities or pro athletes to tweet thoughts about fashion, movies, other celebrities, the game or other athletes. Sometimes, they even get into Twitter wars. But, unfortunately, lots of Trump's tweets don't fully explain what the president is thinking or the tweets are mean and slightly incoherent.
Take a look at some Trump tweets from August and taken from the CNN website.
Here are a few examples of tweets that one could expect from the president of the United States:
Trump's tweet: We pray for our fallen heroes who died while serving our country in the//t.co/76Nn5liWrK
Trump's tweet: A great honor to sign the Veterans Appeals Improvement & Modernization Act into law w///t.co/f8rF5fuNUW
Trump's tweet: Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad!
Here are some tweets that are too complicated for a roughly 140 character limit.
Trump's tweet: Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt - many jobs being lost!
Trump's tweet: .@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!
Trump's tweet: Heading to Camp David for major meeting on National Security, the Border and the Military (which we are rapidly building to strongest ever).
Tweets invite an immediate response from the reader. So while the reader may agree that Amazon is damaging tax-paying retailers, the reader is still left thinking, "Ok. I agree but will Trump say more? Is he just reacting to Amazon's plans? Is he going to announce working with states on establishing taxes for good purchased through Amazon?" Or "Is this a tweet related to all his other tweets about Amazon?"
Tweets should be concise and direct the recipient to more information when used by the president. We should not be standing by for the next related tweet nor should be caught up in a potential tweet war that is the stuff of celebrities. When a president takes a complicated issue and reduces it to a 140 character of thought or opinion he risks having readers misunderstand the tweet and he disrespects the need for readers, i.e. the public, to receive more thoughtful discussion from the president.
Here are some examples of tweets that can leave the reader shaking his head, angry, in complete agreement, but also seem as if they are baiting or prompting folks to argue or even feed anger and resentment of readers. Again, 140 characters isn't much to work with when a president wants to talk about big ideas and frankly, it can be dangerous.
Trump's tweet: Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You........can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also.....the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!
Trump's tweet: I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton - it was great! Thanks S
Trump's tweet: Radical Islamic Terrorism must be stopped by whatever means necessary! The courts must give us back our protective rights. Have to be tough!
Donald Trump is the president of the United States. He needs to tweet as the president of the United States and not as celebrity, a pro athlete or even a coach rallying his team before the big game.