President Trump was tweeting again Friday. None of it was all that surprising.
Indeed, Trump seemed to almost be going through the motions, ticking off all the usual topics.
Complain about the Russia “hoax” and “Crooked Hillary”: Check and check.
Attack the “fake news media” and re-litigate your 2016 election win: Check and check.
Pass along a hyperbolic review of one of your speeches: Check.
Talk about your success in the polls: Check.
Call people names and contradict your own staff: Check and check. (Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said back in April that Kim Jong Un was not, in fact, “crazy” or “insane.")
Attack a fellow Republican: Check.
It all seemed a little, well, typical.
Back when there was all that discussion about whether the media should maybe ignore or pay less attention to Trump's tweets, I came down firmly on the side of the status quo:
… This is the president-elect of the United States. The job comes with the so-called bully pulpit, and what he says matters and will be the subject of debate no matter what the mainstream media does. Everything he says reverberates. It doesn't matter if he says it on Twitter or at a news conference; either way it's going to be consumed by tens of millions of people, and the media has an important role to play when it comes to fact-checking and providing context.
That all remains true, but being newsworthy requires being new and different. And Trump's Twitter account, as Friday morning shows, has become pretty predictable.
Is there really any doubt that he will soon reconcile with Rand Paul, whom he's also praised in recent days? Trump has criticized Republicans before, but he's never really followed through.
Trump's saber-rattling on North Korea is always worth paying attention to, but relative to the other things he's said, labeling Kim Jong Un a “madman” doesn't really rank. That's probably a word most Americans would affix to the North Korean leader.
As for Trump's popularity, speech and polls? Newsflash: The president has a massive ego and transparently seeks to build himself up regularly.
And the Russia investigation tweets may be the most routine. Without the Facebook reference, they could have come in February, May or last week and been just as at-home as on Friday morning.
The point is not that we should ignore these things — especially Trump's provocative statements about North Korea — but it does seem like Twitter is losing its impact as a tool for Trump. He hasn't really toned it down, but at some point every method of provocation and publicity-seeking becomes less effective unless you change-up your approach. For Trump these days, Twitter seems to be as much a means for him to vent as to make news.
And maybe that's the best outcome for everyone involved. Perhaps Trump's tweets have run their natural course and are simply less interesting than they used to be. At some point, being president is about results rather than rhetoric, and Trump seems to firmly be at that stage.
That said, I'll still wake up every day and immediately check his feed.