It’s no secret that social media had a heavy hand in voting Donald Trump into power (along with other unsavory characters around the world), and the Donald is, perhaps, the most active world leader on Twitter.
In fact, Donald Trump tweets an average of 150-200 tweets in a day. The tweets range from the mundane to the insane, and pretty much every vitriolic character that comes out of that Orange monstrosity’s smartphone has been to further his complete weaponization of social media to further change the American narrative via disinformation and his cult of personality.
Say what you want, but the Donald sure knows the powerful role of data in both business and election success.
Trump Tweets: Weaponizing Twitter
It’s a well-known story among White House staffers and aides that, when the Donald is confronted with facts and figures that prove him wrong, Trump will pull out his phone and tweet the issue to the American public. Of course, because Trump supporters will agree with whatever the Donald says. And when that happens, Trump will proudly show how many people agree with him, regardless of what science and common sense says otherwise.
Trump’s trust in Twitter makes sense: he leveraged the popular social media platform for his nefarious ends back in 2016, and it worked so well that he soon found himself leading the White House and the free world. Think about it: a retired reality star and unscrupulous businessman is the most powerful man on earth. Yes, the guy who said “grab ‘em by the p*ssy” has those same, small, grubby hands on the buttons that could launch nuclear weapons.
All thanks to Twitter.
If Average Joe tweets that he thinks we should increase tariffs on Chinese goods or recognizing Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights, nobody cares. But when the President says it, it’s interpreted as policy, it furthers the divide between the Democrats and Republicans, and it fuels tensions between countries that have nukes perpetually aimed at one another.
Trump’s tweets have been known not only to cause controversy for being ignorant, he also uses it to get around bureaucratic deadlocks, overrule scientific data, and essentially pre-empt any and all logical flow in the presidential process. But they are, perhaps, best known for being weapons against his enemies, both real and perceived.
We’re all well-aware about his disdain for ‘fake news’ (i.e. any news that reports on his failures), but Trump’s tweets also target individuals, from private citizens and celebrities to senators and lawmakers, not to mention entire institutions like the media and the medical community, particularly during the pandemic of 2020, where he attacked doctors for prioritizing health over American’s financial concerns during the pandemic.
But why is it effective? Well, apart from being completely aggressive to the point of being troll-like, Trump’s tweets are repetitive: he has tweeted a whopping 1,159 times on immigration policies and his infamous border wall, an impressive 521 times on tariffs on Chinese goods, and countless praises that he heaps upon himself.
To say that he’s hijacking the American narrative using disinformation is an understatement: Donald Trump has successfully weaponized social media, especially Twitter, and he has the crosshairs on his enemies. It would be scary if he wasn’t such a chump.
How the White House Tries To Contain Trump Tweets
But, of course, not everyone in the administration was thrilled by his social media usage. In fact, they even considered petitioning Twitter to impose a 15-minute delay on anything Trump tries to tweet on his social media, if only to just give everyone in the White House a headstart in containing the shitstorm that comes to pass every time Trump tweets.
It’s like babysitting a spoiled brat who, unfortunately, has access to billions of dollars and an entire military-industrial complex.
They couldn’t stop the Donald, though, so instead of trying to resist, pretty much everyone in government just leaned into it: policymakers would closely monitor Trump’s tweets while journalists now have his social media chief’s hotline in case of clarifications, which there are a lot of. In a way, it worked: Trump tweets became a mainstay in the news and popular culture, making for both a popular reading piece for the internet age and a guideline for dictators around the world. Neat!
But there’s a good reason why the White House would allow President to keep playing with his toy: Twitter is essential in maintaining Trumplandia, that weird, corrupted version of Kennedy’s Camelot, where ‘alternative facts’ reign and everyone worships the ground he treads on (at least, that’s what he likes to feel).
With a cult of personality that has found a solid base with all spectrums of social class, maintaining the status quo is essential for Trump allies, whether for political reasons or because they have brain damage, to stay in power. So what if Trump tweets something dumb? His followers (66 million of them on Twitter) are just going to nod their heads and proclaim him Jesus, so riding on his coattails is currying favor for whatever projects they might have in mind.
Early into the Trump presidency, top White House officials, administration officials, lawmakers, aides, and everyone else around Trump were working hard to make sure the President doesn’t actually tweet some stupid nonsense like ‘covfefe’ or something. I mean, who would do that?
But Twitter isn’t just a place for the Donald to spew out whatever ignorant, racist comment he has for the day, it’s also been crucial to his administration. If there’s one positive thing you could say about Trump is that he integrated modern technology into the Presidency, changed the business of politics with modern strategies, and is paving the way towards how official government policies are interpreted when they’re fired off on social media.
Whether that’s for better or worse is for history to say. Trump tweets are notorious for being both contradictory and, for lack of a better term, dumb. And while that’s pretty laughable for any person, the guy tweeting it is the President of the United States of America. God help us all.