On Wednesday night, Donald Trump was watching TV and he got mad at a guy he apparently saw on TV and so he tweeted to his 16,997,292 followers that this guy he’d apparently seen on TV had “done a terrible job” at his actual job, if not on TV.
Trump was apparently mad because this guy — Chuck Jones, the elected president of Steelworkers Local 1999 — had told CNN's Erin Burnett that Trump had misrepresented how many jobs had been saved by his intervention with Carrier in Indiana. Jones told The Post's Danielle Paquette that Trump had “lied his [three-letter slang term for a posterior] off” by suggesting that the deal had saved 1,100 jobs. But Trump apparently didn't like that he said that on television, so he tweeted, and Jones started getting death threats.
Just another day in the life of the president-elect, if not Chuck Jones's. Earlier this week, Trump got mad at Boeing for some reason and tweeted that he didn't want Air Force One to be made by the aircraft manufacturer. Boeing's stock plunged briefly. Last week, he saw some kids on TV burning flags and so he got mad on Twitter about people burning flags.
And the great wheel of life kept turning.
In a poll released Tuesday, Morning Consult and Politico asked Americans whether they thought that Trump tweeted too much — a poll conducted before the Jones and Boeing tweets. More than half of the country said that, yes, he does. That includes a third of Republicans.
Too much tweeting! Trump explained his tweeting by blaming the media, as always.
Here is an accurate bit of coverage: Jones's depiction of Trump as lying is subjective, but he's right that Trump inflated the numbers.
The broader issue here is that some in America still seem to think that Trump will change. Pundits have been thinking he'll change for a long time. It was assumed that he would change his rhetoric once he won the GOP presidential nomination, which he didn't. It was assumed that he would change his rhetoric once he actually won the election, and he didn't. He stood onstage last week as the crowd chanted “lock her up” — a demand to jail his former opponent — and simply smiled.
Yet America holds out hope! Trump needs to show more caution once he's president, 8 in 10 Americans think, according to new polling from Pew Research. Trump needs to be more restrained, three-quarters of Republicans think. He needs to now, at last, change how he operates.
Most Americans have always thought that the way Trump behaved was unpresidential. We and our polling partners at ABC News asked about his temperament multiple times over the course of the campaign, and in every single poll, only about a third of respondents said that they thought he had the right temperament for the job.
This is part of the reason it seemed to me like he wasn't going to win! Could a guy who is seen as temperamentally unfit for the job be the pick of enough voters to cobble together 270 electoral votes? Spoiler: Yes. In our final poll asking the question, completed in early October, 62 percent of likely voters said that Trump didn't have the temperament to do the job effectively. And yet 11 percent of those folks said they planned to vote for him anyway. Temperament wasn't disqualifying — perhaps because a lot of those voters also assumed that his temperament would shift once he was in the White House.
Perhaps it will! Trump isn't yet in the White House; he's still in the Gold Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. He's still got time to tune into CNN and get mad at random dudes, crankily tipping into motion a chain of anger directed at the target of the moment. Fox News host Megyn Kelly said at an event this week that she and her family had to be under armed protection out of fear of what might happen after Trump's ire (and the ire of his allies) had been directed at her. That was earlier in the campaign, but the pattern hasn't changed.
Most of you will probably get the reference in the headline, since it's a hackneyed one in pop culture. In the movie “Mean Girls,” Mean Girl #3, Gretchen Wieners, hopes to make the slang term “fetch” catch on as a term of approval. Mean Girl #1, Regina George, wheels on her at one point and insists that “fetch” “is not going to happen,” and to give up.
Trump has wheeled on us, America. Moderate Trump isn't going to happen. Just as Gretchen Wieners needed to come to terms with a world where “fetch” was forever just a nice idea, so too does America need to let go of the vision of a Trump who sees something on the television and keeps his opinion to himself. It could happen, theoretically — after all, Regina George was eventually chastened. (Uh, spoiler alert, I guess.)
I'm just saying that I wouldn't hold my breath.