Donald Trump’s strange, startling weekend on Twitter


The bulk of Trump’s tweets were focused either on special counsel Robert Mueller’s now-concluded investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election (15 tweets) or the ongoing trade war with China (eight tweets). Trump also sent three tweets blasting the idea that his administration’s refusal to cooperate with ongoing oversight investigations by Congress amounted to a constitutional crisis.

It was a tour de force — except not in a good way.

As anyone who has been paying attention since Trump became a candidate knows, his Twitter feed is rightly understood as a direct window into a) what the President is thinking about and b) what he really cares about at any given moment. The public has never had access to the internal deliberations and machinations of a chief executive like Twitter has provided us with Trump. And it’s hard to imagine we will ever have something — or someone — like this again.

All of which is to say that doing a forensic analysis of Trump’s tweets is a hugely important — and enlightening — activity.

What this weekend reveals is that, for all of the desire from White House aides and congressional Republicans for Trump to move on from the Russia probe, he remains uniquely focused on it. Trump sent twice as many tweets about the Russia probe — and the claim that it’s actually Democrats who need to be investigated for “spying” on him during the 2016 election. Here’s just one example from Sunday:

“Despite two years and millions of dollars spent, the Democrats are acting like crazed lunatics ever since the results of the Mueller Report were made public. But they knew there was NOTHING even before the Report was started. It is all a big Hoax, the biggest in American history!”

Trump is simply unable to mentally get himself beyond this story. He is obsessed with the idea that the investigation, which produced 199 criminal charges against 37 people and entities, was a “witch hunt” and a “total hoax.” That view, which is simply not backed up by facts, is repeatedly reinforced by the self-reinforcing bubble in which the President lives. He watches shows like “Fox & Friends” and “Lou Dobbs Tonight” because they are unapologetic advocates for him and his policies. If Trump says it, it’s right. Period.

That self-reinforcing cycle is not unique to Trump. Study after study shows we are increasingly siloed in political worlds in which we never run into any differing viewpoints from people we like or know. It’s not great for the average person to live in that siloed world; it’s disastrous when a President does it. What happens is, well, Trump: A near-singularly focused President who believes that the conspiracy theories he has cooked up are, in fact, legitimate.

Then there is this purely political calculation: By focusing so intensely on Mueller and the Russia probe, Trump isn’t often using his massive Twitter bullhorn (more than 60 million) to tout the strength of the economy. Out of the 35 tweets he sent between Saturday and this morning, a total of one was about the economy. This is it:

“Bernie Sanders, ‘The Economy is doing well, and I’m sure I don’t have to give Trump any credit – I’m sure he’ll take all the credit that he wants.’ Wrong Bernie, the Economy is doing GREAT, and would have CRASHED if my opponent (and yours), Crooked Hillary Clinton, had ever won!”

A single tweet on what is without question Trump’s best argument for a second term: You may not admire or even like me, but you can’t argue with my results on the economy. And even that tweet was quoting one of Trump’s potential rivals for the White House in 2020!

Why focus so much on Mueller and so little on the economy? Why tweet as much about the economy as you do about the Red Sox and less than you do about the ratings of two conservative shows? Because there is no grand strategy here. Because Trump isn’t playing three-dimensional chess. He is simply saying, doing and tweeting what is on his mind at the moment. No more, no less.

Go and read Trump’s Twitter timeline over the last 48 hours. The peek into his mind it provides is, um, startling.

Source : Nbcnewyork