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tweeter-in-chief
February 20, 2018

President Trump had a very busy Tuesday morning — on Twitter, that is.

All before his 11:15 a.m. ET intelligence briefing, Trump praised Fox & Friends, attacked former President Barack Obama for being soft on Russia, and fought back against an allegation of sexual misconduct. The latter is because on Monday, The Washington Post published a profile on Rachel Crooks, a woman who alleges that Trump kissed her against her wishes 12 years ago when she worked in Trump Tower.

Bloomberg's Tim O'Brien pointed out that Trump's angry tweet is factually inaccurate. Crooks claimed that Trump forced himself on her "in the small waiting area near the elevators" of the Trump Tower office of Bayrock Group, the investment firm where she worked — not in the building's main lobby, like Trump wrote.

The president also asked why he would have behaved as Crooks alleged while in view of "live security cameras," but O'Brien notes that Crooks has asked Trump to release security footage from that day, to no avail. Crooks is one of 19 women who has accused the president of sexual assault or harassment. Kelly O'Meara Morales

January 10, 2018

In a tweet Wednesday morning, President Trump coined his latest lawmaker nickname while expressing his displeasure at "Sneaky" Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), after she on Tuesday unilaterally released the 300-plus page congressional testimony of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Trump implied that Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, broke the law by publishing Simpson's testimony:

A cursory search through Simpson's testimony reveals that the session was unclassified, so it is unclear why the president believes Feinstein acted illegally. While Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee chairman, said he was "disappointed" by Feinstein's decision, other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), took no issue with Feinstein's disclosure.

Trump's rancor toward Fusion GPS stems from the firm's hiring of Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored an infamous dossier that alleges that the Russian government possesses compromising information about him. Fourteen minutes after his tweet attacking Feinstein, Trump followed up with a missive railing against "the single greatest witch hunt in American history" — aka the multiple probes into possible collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin. Kelly O'Meara Morales

January 2, 2018

After returning from a holiday vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, President Trump woke up in the White House for the first time this year and started his day as he has so many others: by tweeting. Before the clock struck 9 a.m. on the East Coast, the president had already opined on a wide variety of subjects, beginning with the hypothetical imprisonment of Hillary Clinton's top aide, Huma Abedin:

Trump then moved onto the possibility of diplomatic talks between North and South Korea, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced his desire "for peaceful resolution with our southern border":

He next pivoted to congratulating himself for commercial airplane safety, despite the fact that nobody has died flying commercially in the U.S. since 2009.

As is often the case, the president's tweets probably did not occur to him without some mental nudging: Media Matters' Matthew Gertz points out that the subjects of Trump's Tuesday morning tweets are suspiciously similar to that of a certain cable network's morning programming. Kelly O'Meara Morales

February 22, 2017

President Trump's former campaign staff formulated a strategy for keeping the quick-to-tweet candidate off of Twitter, and it involved healthy doses of praise from the media. When there was none, the staffers would work with Trump-friendly outlets to ensure there would be something they could print and deliver to Trump's desk, Politico reports:

For example, when Trump engaged in a Twitter war with the father of a slain Muslim U.S. soldier in Iraq, Khizr Khan, the team set up a meeting with Gold Star Mothers of Florida and made sure to plant the story in conservative media. Breitbart also wrote stories about Khan's relationships with the Democratic Party. "We made sure that conservative media was aware of it, they connected the echo chamber," the former official said.

During another damage-control mission, when former Miss Universe Alicia Machado took to the airwaves to call out Trump for calling her "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping," the communications team scrambled to place a story in conservative friendly outlets like Fox News, the Washington Examiner, the Daily Caller, and Breitbart. [Politico]

"If candidate Trump was upset about unfair coverage, it was productive to show him that he was getting fair coverage from outlets that were persuadable," explained former communications director Sam Nunberg. Another former Trump campaign official added: "[Trump] saw there was activity so he didn't feel like he had to respond. He sends out these tweets when he feels like people aren't responding enough for him."

Politico adds that aides in the White House might be taking note, as they have noticed "leaving [Trump] alone for several hours can prove damaging, because he consumes too much television and gripes to people outside the White House." Jeva Lange

February 6, 2017

President Donald Trump has a fraught relationship with federal judges. During his presidential campaign, Trump lashed out at Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University, claiming that Curiel would be unfair in his ruling because of his "Mexican heritage." Then this past weekend, Trump skewered a George W. Bush appointee, Judge James Robart, over a temporary freeze on Trump's travel ban. For standing in the way of Trump's order, Robart was a "so-called judge," Trump claimed in a series of furious tweets:

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough put his foot down on the matter in an op-ed published at The Washington Post on Sunday. "I had intended to use this space to detail how the chaotic events of the past week had persuaded President Trump to put into practice a more rigorous process to avoid calamities like last week’s immigration executive order," Scarborough began. "But that subject will have to wait for another day, since the 45th president decided to use Twitter this weekend to repeatedly question the legitimacy of a sitting federal judge."

When a president tweets insults at a Hollywood star, the dignity of his office is tarnished. When a commander-in-chief uses Twitter to attack a loyal military ally, America's friends across the globe become unsettled. But when a president uses social media to question the legitimacy of a federal judge following an inconvenient (and temporary) outcome, that is simply unacceptable. From Marbury v. Madison to United States v. Nixon, our federal courts' power to interpret the Constitution has been sacrosanct. As Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote in U.S. v. Nixon, the concept of checks and balances endures because it has remained (to quote Marbury) "the duty of the judicial department to say what the law is." [The Washington Post]

Read Scarborough's full takedown in The Washington Post. Jeva Lange

January 23, 2017

The U.S. Department of Defense shared a special message Monday and it is definitely, absolutely not a subtweet:

The Department of the Interior's Twitter account briefly went dark Friday after its retweet about the size of President Donald Trump's inauguration crowd irked the Trump administration.

But that, of course, is neither here nor there. Jeva Lange

January 13, 2017

Without pausing for a "good morning," President-elect Donald Trump spent the 6 a.m. hour of Friday morning disparaging the U.S. intelligence community — again.

Trump had admitted at his press conference Wednesday that "as far as hacking, I think it was Russia. Hacking's bad, and it shouldn't be done." But by Friday, intelligence had once again become a skeptical "intelligence" in his tweets and Trump vowed that "my people" will have a "full report on the hacking within 90 days" despite the fact that the conclusions of an already-written full report found the NSA, the FBI, and the CIA in agreement:

Who exactly "my people" are is not certain either, although Trump's incoming CIA director, Rep. Mike Pompeo, made it clear in no uncertain terms during his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday that he believes the reports about Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Although not technically a "hacking," Trump might have been referring to a leaked, classified, and unverified intelligence dossier that alleges he both colluded with Russia, and that Russia is in possession of compromising material they can use to blackmail the incoming president. While the information in the report evidently had enough credibility for top U.S. intelligence officials to brief Trump and President Barack Obama on it, Trump has slammed the allegations as "fake news" and the Kremlin has called the memos a "ridiculous thing" that "does not contain any proofs, any evidence." Jeva Lange

January 5, 2017

What President-elect Donald Trump tweets next isn't just a surprise to his followers; it's a surprise to everyone working for him, The Wall Street Journal reports. Incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday he does "not get a memo" about Trump's tweets and that he and others on the communication staff aren't consulted before Trump fires off.

"[It is an] exciting part of the job," Spicer told former Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod and former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs in a discussion at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

But that doesn't mean the tweets are off-the-cuff, Spicer added. He said it was a "misconception … that [Trump] is just randomly tweeting … He is a very strategic thinker. He thinks about where things are going to end up."

Lauded as a revolutionary tool during the election, Trump will continue to man his Twitter account while president. "The fact of the matter is that when he tweets he gets results," Spicer said last week. "So whether it's Twitter, holding a news conference, picking up the phone, having a meeting, he is going to make sure that he continues to fight for the American people every single day." Jeva Lange

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