Over the years, a number of U.S. presidents have become synonymous with specific forms of communication, because of the way they used it to their advantage during their time in office. For Franklin Delano Roosevelt, it was the relatively new medium of radio, and for John F. Kennedy it was network television.
For better or worse, the 45th president, Donald J. Trump, is synonymous with Twitter. But he doesn’t just use it or take advantage of it — he lives and breathes it. It is a tool and also arguably a crutch, as well as a loose cannon. And that has raised a number of critical issues both for the media and arguably for the country.
Even before he became president, Twitter was a key part of Trump’s election strategy, and since the election it has become an even more crucial part of his public image. It’s how he kills time while watching TV in the morning or the evening, and it’s also how he gets the news cycle spinning, delivers the coup de gras to his enemies, and wages war on what he calls the “lying media.”
In fact, some believe that without Twitter, and the amplification that it provided for the messages of the Trump campaign, Trump would likely not have become president at all.
The Trump camp “successfully crowdsourced a message of anger and fear by leveraging the knowledge, contacts and skills of his followers,” law professor Shontavia Johnson argued in a piece for the academic site The Conversation.
“Trump’s posts created a feedback loop, whereby posts on social media made it to television news — getting for free what would have cost the equivalent of US$3 billion in media coverage and advertising costs.”
The exact value of the publicity the Trump campaign got by using this strategy could be debated, but there’s no question his use of Twitter provided endless fodder for media stories and TV hits. And the more outrageous his comments became, the more coverage they got.
It was a symbiotic relationship that benefited both sides. “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” Les Moonves of CBS said at one point (the CBS chairman said later that he was joking).
Those who followed Trump during his original career as a New York real estate developer have said this courting of publicity by any means possible is classic Trump, and that this approach was further developed during his time as a reality-TV host on The Apprentice. In many ways, Trump was primed to take advantage of a social-media platform like Twitter long before it even arrived.
Before he became president, there was some question whether Trump would continue tweeting after taking office — or even whether he would be allowed to do so, because of the potential security risks. But if anything, his Twitter dependency actually accelerated after he moved into the White House.
Just hours after being inaugurated, Trump provided a tangible sign of his Twitter obsession when he reportedly called the head of the National Park Service and ordered him to take down a tweet that a staffer had posted comparing the size of his inauguration crowd with that of former president Barack Obama.
Is it a good thing to have a president who tweets constantly? That depends on your perspective. Some argue that it not only makes the U.S. look bad on the international stage, but that it actually represents a looming national security risk — especially when Trump uses his Twitter account to pick fights with China or threaten open warfare with North Korea.
“In other circumstances, the transparency of a president who personally tweets might have been a revelation,” writer Navneet Alang wrote in an essay in the New Republic in November. But instead of relief from empty campaign statements, “we got a president who uses social media to enact revenge, spout conspiracy theories, and self-aggrandize.”
As Amanda Hess put it in an analysis of Trump’s tweeting habits in the New York Times, “Mr. Trump has always been hooked on recognition. He is obsessed with his television ratings. His office is festooned with decades-old magazine covers featuring himself. Even negative attention can be a win; he’s thrilled to be named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ even if the cover might evoke images of both Hitler and Satan.”
Some of those close to the Trump administration have reportedly expressed a desire to keep the Commander-in-Chief from tweeting because of the potential damage it might cause. In one tangible example, several U.S. courts have struck down Trump’s proposed immigration ban aimed at Muslim countries in part because of sentiments he expressed on Twitter.
In particular, Trump made it clear in his tweets that the bill was intended to block Muslims, a move that would likely be unconstitutional because it would target people based on their religious beliefs.
As legal analyst Benjamin Wittes described it in a discussion of the 9th Circuit decision on the Lawfare blog, the court looked at “the extent to which the repeated and overt invocations of the most invidious motivations on the part of the President himself, his campaign, his adviser, and his Twitter feed.”
Even some foreign powers have spoken out about Trump’s tendency to shoot his mouth off on Twitter. A comment piece published by the official Chinese news agency Xinhua said the president’s obsession with using Twitter to make pronouncements is undesirable.
“Twitter shouldn’t become an instrument of foreign policy,” the agency said. The Xinhua commentary came not long after Trump said on Twitter that he was disappointed in the Chinese government for not doing more to help stop North Korea.
Despite what appear to be repeated attempts within the White House to curtail his Twitter use, however, Trump himself has said a number of times that he enjoys the directness of the platform — that is, the ability to speak to his supporters without having to go through the press.
“I’m covered so dishonestly by the press… that I can put it on Twitter [and] I can go bing bing bing and I just keep going and they put it on as soon as I tweet it out,” he said in an interview with a British MP and the former editor of the German newspaper Bild. “If I tell something to the papers and they don’t write it accurately, it’s really bad — they can’t do much when you tweet it.”
The pro-Trump conservative news site Breitbart News said in an editorial that one of the major successes of Trump’s campaign was “his ability to cut around a dying corporate media industry to speak directly to voters. It offered Americans a window into who Trump really is, and allowed him to essentially bypass the failing and corrupted corporate media.”
Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center at Columbia, argued in an essay about Trump’s use of Twitter that he behaves not like a president, but like a “loud, competitive, digitally attuned, populist media organization.” Trump, she says, “sees himself not just in opposition to the existing press but in competition with them.”
Trump’s use of Twitter also goes hand-in-hand with a more nefarious strategy the administration has pursued — namely, attempts to reduce the amount of official interactions that the president and/or his White House have with the media.
Trump has had an order of magnitude fewer press conferences since he was elected when compared to almost any other recent president. His administration has also shown a distinct preference for off-the-record briefings that can’t be recorded and aren’t public. And all of this has come amid ongoing complaints about “fake news” and the press.
The strategy is fairly obvious: Discredit the mainstream media, restrict their access, and then replace their reports with tweets directly from the president and occasional friendly interviews with outlets like Fox News and Breitbart.
In effect, Twitter allows Trump to provide the illusion of transparency and access without having to actually provide it. On the one hand, it provides an up-close look at what he is thinking, which some believe is valuable. But at the same time, it also allows him to state untruths with impunity, knowing that his tweets will be widely redistributed by his followers and the media, and to dodge follow-up questions or criticism.
Meanwhile, Trump’s use of Twitter has created a conundrum for the press: Does everything Trump publishes on Twitter by definition have to become a news story, simply because he is the president?
As the New York Times put it in a story earlier this year about Trump’s Twitter use: “Mr. Trump expertly exploits journalists’ unwavering attention to their Twitter feeds, their competitive spirit and their ingrained journalistic conventions — chiefly, that what the president says is inherently newsworthy.”
White House communications chief Sean Spicer exacerbated this problem when he said in June that Trump’s tweets should be considered official statements. Not long afterwards, a Twitter account called RealPressSecBot started republishing Trump tweets with a background image that makes them look like press releases printed on White House stationery.
The parody account highlights the problem: If Trump issued a press release saying the same things he says on Twitter, it would clearly be grounds for a news story. So why shouldn’t his tweets do the same?
Veteran media writer Jack Shafer says that Trump “has caught the press in something of a double bind. To ignore what a president does or what he says he intends to do would be journalistic malpractice.” In a very real sense, Shafer says, Trump acts as assignment editor for most of the major news outlets just by tweeting.
A number of senior journalists have argued that the media can’t just avoid mentioning what the president is tweeting about, especially if it is about an ongoing news story, or they wouldn’t be doing their jobs.
“This is the way he’s communicating with millions upon millions of people, and as journalists we can’t ignore that,” Politico editor Carrie Budoff Brown told the New York Times. Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said: “It’s the president talking, and I think you report it. Under any definition, it’s news, whether it’s sensible or not, factual or not.”
Others, however — including CJR editor Kyle Pope — have argued that covering every single tweet like it was official policy risks giving some of Trump’s more marginal or distracting tweets much more weight than they deserve, thereby stealing attention or resources from more important topics.
Some political observers have even speculated that Trump and the White House see his tweets in part as a way of distracting the media from more serious transgressions that are taking place, such as the administration’s alleged links to Russia.
Ben Shapiro, editor in chief of DailyWire.com, said in a recent interview with CNN that by focusing on every Trump tweet and foible, the media “is in danger of blowing its credibility.”
In some ways, reporting every tweet could actually backfire for news outlets. Writing articles and doing TV news hits about his comments effectively spread them even farther than they would go otherwise and also lend them added credibility — but at the same time, debunking or fact-checking those tweets is largely futile, because many Trump supporters already distrust the mainstream press.
Psychologists refer to this as the “boomerang effect.” Even if you marshal all the facts available about a topic, arguing with someone who already doesn’t trust you actually makes them more likely to continue believing the opposite.
Trump’s use of Twitter has sparked a debate over whether Twitter itself should ban the president from using the platform. According to a number of critics, Trump’s use of Twitter to attack everyone from Hillary Clinton to miscellaneous followers is a breach of the service’s standards, which forbid anyone from using their account to harass or abuse others.
Venture capitalist and former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao said in an essay published on Medium that Trump was “using his manipulation skills and your platform to bully others, and to incite supporters to harass people — both on Twitter and in real life.”
Even Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and CEO of Twitter, admitted in an interview at the Recode conference that his feelings about the president’s use of the platform are “complicated.”
On the one hand, it could be argued that Trump has done more to popularize and spread the reach of Twitter than any other single user in the company’s history. But his use of the platform to attack anyone he perceives as an enemy also has echoes of the bullying and harassment problems many associate with the service.
Some believe that Trump should be barred from Twitter not because of harassment, but because his use of the platform poses a security risk (even some inside Twitter have raised this possibility, according to a recent report by The Verge). And the examples of how this might arise seem to be increasing daily.
After North Korea bragged about its ability to fit modified nuclear warheads into the nose-cone of a cruise missile, for example, Trump said that if it tried anything, the country would be met with a “fire and fury unlike anything the world has ever seen.” He then posted a series of tweets about how powerful the U.S. nuclear arsenal is.
According to a number of news reports, Trump’s statement was ad hoc — that is, made on the spur of the moment, without any consultation with his military or political advisers.
Could Trump actually tweet his way into a war between the U.S. and North Korea or some other hostile country? That might have seemed like a slightly paranoid fear just a year ago, but after the kind of behavior the president has shown a propensity for since moving into the White House, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched any more.
Trump’s use of Twitter also raises some interesting issues that have never been tackled by an administration before. For example, the Knight Foundation’s First Amendment Institute recently filed a lawsuit arguing that the president should not be allowed to block critics on Twitter from seeing his tweets.
This might seem like a but of a stretch legally, but the Institute argues that by having an official Twitter account, Trump and his administration have essentially created a public forum, and therefore restricting who can participate in that forum is a breach of their First Amendment rights.
“Though the architects of the Constitution surely didn’t contemplate presidential Twitter accounts, they understood that the President must not be allowed to banish views from public discourse simply because he finds them objectionable,” said Institute director Jameel Jaffer. “Having opened this forum to all comers, the President can’t exclude people from it merely because he dislikes what they’re saying.”
In a similar case, a court in Virginia recently ruled against a city official who blocked constituents on Facebook. “The suppression of critical commentary regarding elected officials is the quintessential form of viewpoint discrimination against which the First Amendment guards,” US District Judge James Cacheris said.
Trump may also have breached another federal law by deleting some of his tweets, according to some constitutional experts. Caroline Mala Corbin, a constitutional law professor at the University of Miami, told NBC News that the president may have violated the Presidential Records Act, a 1978 law passed after the Watergate scandal that requires all presidential writings be preserved.
In many ways, having the president post his thoughts publicly about everything from foreign policy to the weaknesses of his enemies is a dream come true for both journalists and political junkies.
After all, his tweets provide a real-time glimpse into the mind and mood of one of the world’s most powerful political leaders. Week-long news cycles have been built around a single update from Trump, with pundits parsing every syllable, and those stories are inevitably a traffic-generating machine for many cash-strapped media outlets.
And yet, even some of the journalists filing those stories likely wonder whether they are serving a larger purpose, or whether their coverage is the equivalent of Nero fiddling as Rome burns.
BuzzFeed: “The immediacy of Twitter — coupled with Trump’s distinctive style — amplifies the “tell it like it is” component of his image: People at Trump rallies say they love and look forward to his tweets, but that love is less for what they say (usually decrying something, calling someone a loser) and more for his willingness to say it. On Twitter, Trump doesn’t care who he offends or attacks, he has no fear of the status quo, he has no regard for social niceties. That posture, so effectively communicated through a medium like Twitter, further affirms his “outsider” status — and helps elide the privilege he’s enjoyed since birth.”
“In the weeks since the election, Twitter has become increasingly essential to the maintenance of Trump’s image and, by extension, his legitimacy as president-elect. He wields it like a flare gun: Don’t look here (the settlement of his Trump University lawsuit, which, upon close scrutiny, reveals that he bilked people like those who voted for him for millions), look here! (Mike Pence getting booed at Hamilton).” https://www.buzzfeed.com/annehelenpetersen/what-would-trump-be-without-twitter?utm_term=.mkxl7dLzO#.mtoNwkK0G
Poynter: “Vanity Fair is the latest news organization to profit from President-elect Donald Trump’s Twitter ire. The Condé Nast magazine has seen its subscriptions rise 100 fold Thursday after Donald Trump tweeted that the publication was “way down, big trouble, dead.” Within 24 hours, Vanity Fair added 13,000 subscribers. This is the highest number of subscriptions sold in a single day ever at Condé Nast, according to a spokesperson.” http://www.poynter.org/2016/vanity-fairs-subscriptions-soar-after-troll-y-trump-tweet/443165/
CNN: “Ben Shapiro, editor in chief of DailyWire.com, says that by focusing on every Trump tweet and foible, the media “is in danger of blowing its credibility.” http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/11/20/trump-tweet-coverage-is-turned-up-to-11.cnn
New York Times: “Xinhua, the state news agency, has more or less asked Mr. Trump to shut up. “An obsession with ‘Twitter foreign policy’ is undesirable,” read the headline of a Xinhua commentary on Tuesday about Mr. Trump’s posts. “Everyone recognizes the common sense that foreign policy isn’t child’s play, and even less is it like doing business deals,” said the article, published after Mr. Trump’s latest barbed comments on China. “Twitter shouldn’t become an instrument of foreign policy,” the article said. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/04/world/asia/china-xinhua-donald-trump-twitter.html
The Verge: “Some of Trump’s tweets, notably his erratic tweets about nuclear policy, have generated calls for Twitter to ban the president-elect from the platform. Those discussions are now taking place inside Twitter as well, a current employee familiar with the matter told The Verge. “Banning is definitely a conversation that people are having, but only because we have to have the conversation,” the employee said. But a ban seems unlikely, this person said.” https://www.theverge.com/2017/1/12/14256818/donald-trump-twitter-ban-employee-reaction
BuzzFeed: Donald Trump’s Twitter account “is a security disaster waiting to happen” https://www.buzzfeed.com/josephbernstein/donald-trumps-twitter-account-is-a-security-disaster-waiting?utm_term=.ht30rQBeY#.ovZMEqNLb
The Verge: Jack Dorsey says his feelings about Donald Trump’s use of Twitter are “complicated” https://www.theverge.com/2016/12/6/13863782/jack-dorsey-feels-trump-twitter-complicated
The Verge: “Donald Trump used Twitter to make outrageous claims throughout his 2016 presidential campaign, and he’s still making them after winning the presidency. If he keeps it up as president, he will turn Twitter into a state-media machine capable of quickly and widely spreading disinformation.” https://www.theverge.com/2016/11/27/13758710/trump-is-turning-twitter-into-a-state-disinformation-machine
BuzzFeed: “It’s tricky and unprecedented territory for Twitter. Trump is obviously free to mention individuals by name on Twitter, especially as they relate to policy and governing. However, Trump’s new role as the most powerful leader in the free world as well as, his extreme visibility, and the history of his followers targeting and harassing his enemies create potential fallout that stands to affect real people, regardless of the intent with which they are made. Simply put: as President, the potential consequences of Trump’s speech make his case — and Twitter’s potential enforcement — somewhat unique.” https://www.buzzfeed.com/charliewarzel/trumps-antagonistic-tweet-tests-the-limits-of-twitters-rules?utm_term=.awD98KjDa#.bfJ2V4pQK
Medium: Ellen Pao says “@realdonaldtrump is bringing out the worst of Twitter?—?the company, the platform, and its users. He’s using his manipulation skills and your platform to bully others, and to incite supporters to harass people?—?both on Twitter and in real life.” https://medium.com/@ekp/dear-jack-its-time-to-suspend-donald-trump-from-twitter-14ddbdd3250c
New York Times: “Mr. Trump expertly exploits journalists’ unwavering attention to their Twitter feeds, their competitive spirit and their ingrained journalistic conventions — chiefly, that what the president says is inherently newsworthy. As a developer and reality show star, he lobbied the news media for coverage. Now journalists feel obligated to pay attention to him. Mr. Trump overwhelms the media with boatloads of what was once a rare commodity: access. He creates impressions faster than journalists can check them. By the time they turn up the facts, the news cycle has moved on to his next missive, leaving less time (and reader attention) for the stories Mr. Trump does not highlight on his feed. Mr. Trump may not follow a deliberate distraction strategy, but he doesn’t need one. He distracts instinctively. All he needs is a phone, the press and whatever thought just entered his mind.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/15/arts/trump-twitter-and-the-art-of-his-deal.html?nytmobile=0
Jack Shafer: “Presidents have always been able to shape the news agenda, or at least some of it, but Trump is in his own category: When he shrugs, or tweets, or signs some toothless but incendiary document, the press scrambles to its keyboards and fill its pages and the airwaves with the reaction. Trump has caught the press in something of a double bind. To ignore what a president does or what he says he intends to do would be journalistic malpractice. As long as he flashes his pen and his lungs hold out, and Sean Spicer serves additional swill in the briefing room, Trump will reign as our assignment editor, right?” http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/trump-is-now-assigning-the-news-214690
New Republic: “In other circumstances, the transparency of a president who personally tweets might have been a revelation. A president who took to a public platform to chip away at some of that disparity—even if it was just to relate personal, emotional statements rather than polished political narratives—might have helped the public believe that the government was acting out of a genuine interest to lead, rather than couching specific, ideological goals in a language meant to obscure them. Instead of relief from empty campaign statements, though, we got a president who uses social media to enact revenge, spout conspiracy theories, and self-aggrandize.” https://newrepublic.com/article/138753/trump-americas-first-twitter-president-afraid
Breitbart: “One of the major successes of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign was his ability to cut around a dying corporate media industry to speak directly to voters. It offered Americans a window into who Trump really is, and allowed him to essentially bypass the failing and corrupted corporate media—most of whom essentially proved themselves with their actions to essentially be trying to tank the Trump campaign. They failed, and Trump succeeded.” http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/11/29/exclusive-how-trump-bypasses-corporate-media-reach-millions/
The Conversation: “Trump was remarkably effective at harnessing this type of social media power to influence opinions. His campaign successfully crowdsourced a message of anger and fear by leveraging the knowledge, contacts and skills of his followers to disseminate his tweets widely. For example, Trump would receive nearly double the number of Twitter mentions as Hillary Clinton each day, even though (or maybe because) his messages were much more negative. In addition, Trump’s posts created a feedback loop, whereby posts on social media made it to television news – getting for free what would have cost the equivalent of US$3 billion in media coverage and advertising costs. He ultimately spent less money per vote and per delegate than anyone running for president this year, but obtained the highest level of visibility.” http://theconversation.com/donald-trump-tweeted-himself-into-the-white-house-68561
Me at Fortune: “To see how this works, all you have to do is take a look at any Trump interaction with his supporters, whether through Twitter or Facebook (including his “Trump TV” broadcasts, which critics have attacked as low quality, thereby missing the point). Then look at the ripple effects of those events. In almost every case, Trump says something incendiary and/or inaccurate, his fans broadcast it far and wide, and then the traditional media picks it up and rehashes it ad nauseam. This is how the Republican candidate managed to generate more than $2 billion in estimated media coverage, completely free of charge. In the end, it didn’t even matter if that coverage was favorable or unfavorable, or if it focused on Trump’s lies. It was free publicity. And the more outrageous his behavior, the more coverage he got. In effect, Trump knew the media was caught in a Catch-22. Beyond a certain point, they couldn’t just ignore his campaign. (Although the Huffington Post certainly tried.) Not only did they have to cover it for ethical reasons, but they had to cover it for financial ones as well.” http://fortune.com/2016/11/07/trump-media-broken/
Quartz: “Donald Trump, editor-in-chief of the fake news movement” https://qz.com/846551/donald-trump-editor-in-chief-of-the-fake-news-movement/
New York Times: “President-elect Donald J. Trump claimed credit on Thursday night for persuading Ford to keep an automaking plant in Kentucky rather than moving it to Mexico. The only wrinkle: Ford was not actually planning to move the plant. Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter shortly after 9 p.m. that Ford’s chairman, William Clay Ford Jr., had just told him that Ford “will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky — no Mexico.” https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/18/us/politics/donald-trump-takes-credit-for-helping-to-save-a-ford-plant-that-wasnt-closing.html
Emily Bell: “While Donald Trump might represent an alien being to political reporters, his modus operandi is unsettlingly familiar to those who have covered corporate media. Trump’s behavior is not that of a “normal” president, or even a regular politician per se, but of a loud, competitive, digitally attuned, populist media organization. For Trump, the medium is not just the message, it is the office, too. For the organizations that cover Trump, one of the disorienting issues is that Trump does not rely on their interpretation or publicity; in many ways, Trump sees himself not just in opposition to the existing press but in competition with them, too. Framing Trump as a media entity should not diminish the seriousness with which we treat the power of a Trump Presidency. On the contrary, it is important that we examine just how potentially toxic the complete convergence between politics and media might be.” https://www.cjr.org/tow_center/donald_trump_media_organization.php
New York Times: “As news organizations grapple with covering a commander in chief unlike any other, Mr. Trump’s Twitter account — a bully pulpit, propaganda weapon and attention magnet all rolled into one — has quickly emerged as a fresh journalistic challenge and a source of lively debate. How to cover a president’s pronouncements when they are both provocative and maddeningly vague? Does an early-morning tweet amount to a planned shift in American policy? Should news outlets, as some readers argue, ignore clearly untrue tweets, rather than amplify falsehoods further? Fundamentally, she said, the thoughts of a president-elect are inherently newsworthy — as long as journalists also provide readers with the right context, like whether a proposal is feasible or legal, or correct a baseless claim. “This is the way he’s communicating with millions upon millions of people, and as journalists we can’t ignore that,” Ms. Brown said.“Anything that a president would say — even if it was libelous or scandalous — it’s the president talking, and I think you report it,” said Chris Wallace, the “Fox News Sunday” host who moderated this year’s third presidential debate. “Under any definition, it’s news, whether it’s sensible or not, factual or not, productive or not.” https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/business/media/if-trump-tweets-it-is-it-news-a-quandary-for-the-news-media.html
Knight First Amendment Institute demands Trump stop blocking people on Twitter: “This is a context in which the Constitution precludes the President from making up his own rules,” said Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute’s executive director. “Though the architects of the Constitution surely didn’t contemplate presidential Twitter accounts, they understood that the President must not be allowed to banish views from public discourse simply because he finds them objectionable. Having opened this forum to all comers, the President can’t exclude people from it merely because he dislikes what they’re saying.” https://knightcolumbia.org/news/knight-institute-demands-president-unblock-critics-twitter
New York Times: “Donald Trump’s relationship with the media may be obsessive, but it’s also deeply transactional — the media has always been a tool in his pursuit of fame and power. In previous decades, dealing with New York tabloids and national television, his tactic was to gain advantage within dominant media ecosystems; in dealing with the political press during the campaign,his approach had been to gain advantages not merely within media ecosystems but over them. To that end, he found great transactional value in Twitter. With tweets, he is able to reap the benefits of access — stories getting his message out, published by outlets that can find no justification for ignoring these particular words from the president, just because they appear on Twitter — and to create at least an appearance of transparency, but without actually granting any access at all.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/27/magazine/donald-trump-and-the-theater-of-access.html?nytmobile=0
Trump’s own tweets help to kill his Muslim travel ban: http://fortune.com/2017/06/12/trump-tweets-travel-ban/
Fears of a Trump Twitter bot war: http://fortune.com/2017/05/31/trump-twitter-bot-war/
Twitter as a window into Trump’s brain: http://fortune.com/2017/02/23/trump-twitter/
Trump’s CNN wrestling tweet is an incitement to violence, critics say: http://fortune.com/2017/07/02/trump-wrestling-tweet/
Trump talks about his use of Twitter: http://fortune.com/2017/01/17/trump-loves-twitter/
Sean Spicer says he has no idea what Trump is going to tweet: http://fortune.com/2017/01/05/trump-twitter-news/
Wall Street Journal: “in 140-character increments, Mr. Trump diminished his own standing by causing a minor international incident, demonstrated that the loyalty he demands of the people who work for him isn’t reciprocal, set back his policy goals and wasted time that he could have devoted to health care, tax reform or “infrastructure week.” Mark it all down as further evidence that the most effective opponent of the Trump Presidency is Donald J. Trump.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-buck-stops-everywhere-else-1496705412
NBC News: “Even beyond cybersecurity, the ad-hoc approach suggests the Trump White House has not fully adjusted to the complexities of life in the federal government. When Trump deleted a tweet, he likely violated the President Records Act, a 1978 law that requires all presidential writings be preserved. Congress recently amended it to include electronic records. “If he uses his Twitter account for official presidential business, it should be subject to the Presidential Records Act,” Caroline Mala Corbin, a constitutional law professor at the University Miami, said. Congress passed the law “after the Watergate scandal and President Nixon’s attempt to hide his records,” she said, to establish that all presidential records “must be preserved.” http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/twitter-presidency-experts-see-both-risks-rewards-trump-n712771
Politico: “President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed — packed with more than 35,000 time-stamped missives dating to 2009 — offers a treasure-trove of evidence for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his growing team of investigators, according to lawyers and veterans of past White House scandals. Like emails, handwritten notes or transcribed Oval Office conversations, the @realdonaldtrump account gives investigators a detailed timeline of Trump’s thoughts and opinions — including where they might differ from official accounts — and can also be used to establish intent, which can be critical in a criminal investigation.” http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/02/trump-tweets-russia-probes-239040