We’ll let @RealPressSecBot, an automated Twitter bot that takes President Trump’s tweets and formats them like official White House statements, do the honors with the messages Trump issued Thursday morning.
Yeah, you know, just the president of the United States getting mad at cable news pundits and then lobbing a stunningly personal insult at one of them. It’s almost odd to still be shocked by a Trump tweet, but here we are.
Trump has, in the past, celebrated his Twitter account as a means of communicating to the country without the filter of traditional media. (In this case, I can assure the president that if he’d made this comment to a reporter, it would have been reported without any editing.)
He has no choice but to tweet, he said in December.
Earlier this month, he declared that the media hates his tweets precisely because it allows him to share his “honest and unfiltered” words with the country.
But, interestingly, the media is one of the few groups in the country that actually supports his Twitter addiction. Not only because most members of the media suffer from the same affliction, but also because it offers a fascinating insight into the mental processes of an unusual political figure.
Most other Americans, though, are more skeptical.
A PBS NewsHour-Marist poll released Wednesday asked respondents if they thought Trump’s tweets were effective and informative or if they were reckless and distracting. Overall, 7-in-10 adults chose the latter description.
In no group — even Trump supporters — did at least half say the tweets were effective and informative. Even Republicans were about split between the two choices. More than a third of those who approve of the job Trump is doing in office think his tweets are a net negative.
More than half of whites without college degrees and evangelical Christians — two groups at the core of Trump’s base of support — think his tweeting is a net negative. Only 1-in-5 Americans thinks his tweets are effective, a figure so low that it’s almost at Senate-health-care-bill levels.
Nearly every Democrat, unsurprisingly, and two-thirds of independents view Trump’s tweets in a negative light.
It’s probably true that Trump sees his Twitter account as a way of sharing his unvarnished thoughts with the world. For all the constraints of his new position, @realDonaldTrump is one of the few outlets he has to be himself, to riff on whatever strikes his fancy at the moment. (You can’t have a giant rally in a red state every night, after all. Probably.) The Twitter account is not really about keeping the public informed, then. It’s a pressure release valve. It’s a way to keep the boiler from exploding.
It may, therefore, do Trump some good personally. It almost certainly doesn’t do him much good politically.