November 21, 2017

President Trump has long lauded his own tweeting habits as an important way to spread his views directly to the public. "When somebody says something about me, I am able to go 'bing, bing, bing' and I take care of it," he said of Twitter in an October interview, suggesting that those who don't want him tweeting "are the enemies," and that he would not be in the Oval Office were it not for his Twitter account.

Republican fundraisers like the tweets, too, Andrew Malcolm at McClatchy reports, finding them a lucrative outreach tool for the GOP base:

Surprisingly, President Trump's often argumentative, abrasive tweets that bother so many, especially in the GOP establishment, have actually proven to be quite effective fundraising tools. Recited by fundraisers, the tweets are well-received by supporters as candid insights into the unorthodox president's thinking. And they've fueled an historic flow of donations into the Republican National Committee. [McClatchy]

How effective are the tweets? Well, since Trump took office, the GOP has raised $113.2 million, the bulk of it from small-dollar donors giving $200 or less per donation, and much of it from first-time contributors. The Republican National Committee closed the third quarter of 2017 with $44 million on hand to the Democratic National Committee's $7 million. Bonnie Kristian

November 19, 2017

President Trump responded on Twitter Sunday to comments from LaVar Ball, the father of a UCLA basketball player, which downplayed the president's role in getting his son, LiAngelo Ball, and two other student athletes, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, released from shoplifting charges in China.

"Who?" the elder Ball said to ESPN Friday when asked about Trump's actions. "What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out." Trump reportedly spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the players while visiting Beijing on his tour of Asia this month, and he did not appreciate Ball's remarks:

In previous tweets this past week, Trump took credit for the athletes' release, wondered if they would thank him, and told them to "HAVE A GREAT LIFE" and be wary of "many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!" Bonnie Kristian

November 12, 2017

Before leaving Vietnam early Sunday morning, President Trump posted a series of bombastic tweets taking full advantage of Twitter's newly expanded character limit. Reflecting on his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin the day before, Trump decried those who oppose his diplomatic goals:

Trump next suggested favorable Russia relations would be better received if proposed by a Democrat, remembering former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 2009 reset button gaffe:

He then turned to North Korea, writing in response to Pyongyang's Thursday statement calling Trump a "lunatic old man" who must be removed from power:

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly said of the posts, "They are what they are." Bonnie Kristian

November 7, 2017

President Trump arrives in Beijing on Wednesday for a 36-hour stopover in a nation where his favorite pastime — Twitter — is banned. Americans who celebrated the president's 11 minutes of dead air last week might not find the silence they're craving, though: "Multiple officials familiar with the procedures in place but unauthorized to discuss them publicly said the president will, in fact, be able to tweet in China," The Associated Press writes.

Trump has sent at least two dozen tweets in the four days of his Asia trip so far, AP notes, and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang went on record to say that "you should have no reservations about Mr. President's ability to keep in touch with the outside" during his visit. That being said, even turning on a phone in China can be a risk for foreign leaders, since the nation's entire cellular network is vulnerable to spying. White House officials will instead supply secure phones as well as alternatives to hotel-provided WiFi.

China's state-run Global Times reports public interest in whether Trump will open an account on Sina Weibo, the country's Twitter alternative, during his visit. On the website, a hashtag — Trump's visit to China — is already trending. Jeva Lange

November 4, 2017

President Trump posted on Twitter Saturday — morning in the United States, evening in Japan, where Trump is beginning his Asia tour — to push Saudi Arabia's state-run oil company, Aramco, to make its initial public offering (IPO) of stock at the New York Stock Exchange:

The tweet came shortly after another post boasting of the American stock market's strength.

Aramco, which The Economist reports is "almost certainly the world's most valuable company," is expected to list 5 percent of its shares in 2018. Riyadh has yet to indicate whether the state-owned corporation will make an international offering or limit the stocks to domestic Saudi markets.

Trump has courted a closer relationship between Washington and Saudi Arabia since taking office, signing the largest arms deal in American history with Riyadh in May. Bonnie Kristian

November 1, 2017

President Trump tweeted Wednesday his support for including the repeal of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate in the upcoming tax reform bill written by congressional Republicans.

Minutes before Trump's tweet was published, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had voiced his support for the same idea on Fox News. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has also been a vocal proponent of including the individual mandate's repeal in a tax reform bill.

On Tuesday, the day before the president tweeted about repealing the individual mandate, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told reporters that his tax bill would not include such a repeal: "What I don't want to do is to add things that could again kill tax reform, like health care died over there [in the Senate]."

In July, a Republican health-care bill that would have eliminated ObamaCare's individual mandate failed in the Senate after three GOP senators — John McCain (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Susan Collins (Maine) — voted against the measure. The Republican tax bill's rollout has already been delayed in the House over disagreements over key details that have yet to be finalized. On Wednesday, another prominent Republican, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (Utah), told Politico's Seung Min Kim: "I would prefer to stay out of the health-care process because it's tough enough to do a tax bill." Kelly O'Meara Morales

November 1, 2017

President Trump on Wednesday called for merit-based immigration following a deadly attack in New York City on Tuesday by a 29-year-old man from Uzbekistan. "The terrorist came into our country through what is called the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer beauty," Trump shared, referring to the Democratic senator from New York, in a series of early morning tweets. "I want merit-based."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) criticized Trump for "politicizing" the attack: "We respect all people in America, that's about American a value as there is," de Blasio told CNN's Chris Cuomo, adding: "So no, this should not be politicized." Schumer, the Senate minority leader, also responded, skewering Trump for "politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy." Many others connected Trump's response to his treatment of the Las Vegas attack:

The visa program referenced by Trump "has been around for more than 20 years, offering a limited number of visas to people from parts of the world that have relatively few immigrants in the United States," The Washington Post reports. It has long been a target of conservatives, with radio host Mark Levin skewering the program on Fox & Friends minutes before Trump's tweets. Read more about the program at The Washington Post. Jeva Lange

October 31, 2017

On Tuesday, President Trump downplayed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictments of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his top aide, plus the guilty plea of a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos:

Trump's tweets reiterated his dismissal of charges against Manafort. They also notably contained Trump's first acknowledgment of Papadopoulos since the former foreign policy aide's indictment was unsealed. It was revealed Monday that Papadopoulos was arrested earlier this year and pleaded guilty to making false statements that deflected the extent of his interactions with Russian agents. Papadopoulos has reportedly been cooperating with government agents since his arrest.

Additionally, Trump's repeated calls to "check the DEMS" and to "focus" on "crooked Hillary" have been interpreted by some as intentionally muddying the waters. "The Trump administration and its media allies want this to be foggy," writes Brian Stelter at Reliable Sources. "When you say 'Russia,' they say 'Hillary,' thickening more fog." Jeva Lange

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