I started following @realDonaldTrump on Twitter just about a week ago. I was quite late to the party; the president-elect has been tweeting since 2009, with a mouthy, brash style that has remained consistent over the years. And now, it’s pretty much the only thing I follow on Twitter.
The archived stuff is — pardon the expression — golden: swipes at Arianna Huffington, boasts about his IQ, diatribes against “haters” and “losers,” an extended “truther” campaign against the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
The new material, issued nearly every morning, has become required reading for his fans, detractors and stenographers, and they are driving the news cycle — the Washington Post fact-checks every one of them.
He tweeted just now, about “big stuff” in the automotive jobs market and negotiated military spending, and also another dig against Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, with whom he is currently engaged in a feud. It’s haughty and a little stupid. And right now thousands upon thousands of words are being written about them, as if trying to decipher a meaning from them that I suspect does not exist.
Trump told the UK’s Sunday Times this week that he has no intention of dropping his Twitter handle in favor of a new, more presidential one — he’s got 20 million followers, more than the populationof Romania. And he said he doesn’t plan to stop tweeting, citing it as a way around the traditional press that he says covers him “dishonestly.”
It’s a terrible idea, of course. Trump’s tweets have stirred tensions with China, spread half-truths and propaganda and outright falsehoods. He’s lobbed insults and threats and childish taunts — Sad! — that I honestly have not heard since I was on the elementary school playground.
The man has always tweeted like the drunk guy at the end of the bar, shouting at the television set. And I kinda love that guy. I’m pretty sure I have been that guy. I’m not saying that guy should be president, but I am saying that guy is going to be president, and in my book a president with an active Twitter feed that is completely off the cuff — Obama’s last tweet, for example, plugs a broadcast of his farewell address… on Jan 10 — is more revealing than one who speaks only in official missives.
Yes, his behavior on Twitter is … un-presidential. But as I understand it, that very boorishness is one of the reasons he won the election. And like it or not, it is a unique and thorough window into who he is — or, who he wants us to see.
And I for one cannot look away.