Saturday, January 7, 2017

With Six Tweets, Trump Gives Taste of What's to Come

I've been arguing, mostly in conversations offline, that Trump should ditch his Twitter feed after he takes office. He should tweet from the official POTUS account and keep it professional. No personal attacks. No attacks on intelligence agencies, etc.

But it's been reported that he won't stop tweeting after the inauguration. If so, it's going to set a new precedent in presidential leadership and political communications. His successors won't be bound by norms of propriety and professionalism. Trump's in fact changing what it means to be a professional president. He's a showman in office. It's going to be a wild ride.

My only concern is with reelection in 2020. We really need him to serve eight years if we want to build a long-lasting bulwark against the left's onslaught on society and basic decency. I'd hate for his tweeting to be a liability, but it wasn't in 2016, so perhaps it's a new era?

In any case, here's the latest at WSJ, "Six Tweets in 80 Minutes: Trump Gives New Congress a Taste of What’s to Come":

In a span of about 80 minutes on Friday morning, President-elect Donald Trump signaled what Congress and the American public may have in store for the next four years.

From 6:19 a.m. to 7:42 a.m., Mr. Trump posted six messages on Twitter in which he criticized the media, tweaked a promise to pay for a border wall and derided Arnold Schwarzenegger for a TV ratings flop—on a show that Mr. Trump himself is producing.

It may have been par for the course for candidate Trump, but it capped an extraordinary first week of a new Republican-controlled Congress eager to do business with President-elect Trump, who in turn got a taste for what life will be like in the nation’s capital as the 45th president two weeks from now.

It was a study in contrasts. Mr. Trump’s rapid-fire missives about an assortment of topics clashed with typical Washington political tactics that prioritize message discipline and avoiding overexposure.

Right from the start, Mr. Trump and his team seemed intent on influencing and, if necessary, overwhelming Washington’s political establishment—the Republicans, Democrats and the news media—that some in the incoming administration view as hurdles to connecting with American voters.

It was a successful battle plan during his 17-month presidential campaign. Mr. Trump’s formula for controlled chaos largely kept opponents on their heels as he rolled over more than a dozen Republican rivals and a better financed and more politically experienced Democratic presidential nominee.

The week appeared to start where the campaign left off, with a Trump criticism of one of the Congress’s first major acts—a Republican proposal to weaken an ethics watchdog. The party quickly abandoned the proposal after the president-elect tweeted his disapproval.

But as it wore on, the challenges of Mr. Trump’s continued strategy became more apparent. At times, his unique approach stirred confusion inside the Capitol and within his own team, according to officials in both places.

When Republicans in Congress started to plan the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a move that Mr. Trump called for on the campaign trail, he took to Twitter to warn them to be careful of the political consequences and that the health-insurance system would fall under its own weight.

With that, more notes of caution were raised within his own party, leaving the Republican strategy for ending the Affordable Care Act looking more tenuous. Mr. Trump soon found his voice again in mocking Democrats seeking to save the act as clowns, but key Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), said late in the week they wanted to settle on a replacement plan before beginning the complex task of repealing the law...