Since his very gracious victory speech, Donald Trump has taken steps to gain a favorable impression. Unfortunately, his tweets often have the opposite effect.
Presidents have been taking their case directly to the people for generations. The rise of social media has created a very powerful tool. Most of his tweets are just fine. He often thanks people, praises his appointees, announces upcoming travel, etc. In the last two days he has had tributes for the victims of Pearl Harbor and John Glenn.
Sadly, he engages in personal attacks. He blasted a local labor leader involved in the Carrier deal. Not being satisfied, he went after the workers whose jobs he helped save. He has gone after corporations. Shortly after a story appeared that the Boeing CEO criticized his trade policy, Trump went after Boeing. To be fair, Trump says he hadn’t seen the story.
Even more serious is when he appears to be making policy on Twitter. He called for a law punishing flag burners. The Supreme Court has twice ruled that flag burning was protected speech. Undoubtedly he had given the matter little. Candidates can say any damn thing they want but presidents (and presidents-elect) need to be more responsible.
Most troubling is the Boeing tweet. Is gives the impression, whether fair or not, that executives exercising their First Amendment rights can be subject to retribution. This goes beyond what the notoriously anti-business Obama administration has done. His facts were totally wrong. He said there was a $4 billion contract to build a new Air Force One. The actual contract is for $170 million to determine its capabilities. The Pentagon has budgeted $3.2 billion to build two planes. He ends it by saying “Cancel the contract!” Does this mean that as president, he will use tweets to issue orders? I don’t want to see our government become a tweetocracy.
We all say stupid things but most of us have a filter. Trump says, or writes, whatever pops in his head. That is a very dangerous trait in for a president to have.