The media erupt in faux tears whenever the president lashes out on Twitter, and pundits demand that he stop tweeting. They’re full of advice: He should delete his account. He should hire swamp monsters to cleanse his tweets. He should hand over his smartphone.
But they’re wasting their breath. Asking President Trump not to tweet would be like asking Teddy Roosevelt to carry a smaller stick. Or advising Abraham Lincoln that it’s more concise to just say “eighty-seven years ago.” President Trump will tweet until his final day in office, and he’d be a fool not to.
“It’s social media; if you treat it exclusively like formal media, all you’re doing is chucking a powerful platform in the wastebasket,” I wrote. “Social media is the place to be human. To climb down from those aloof pedestals and walk among the people.” But even I could never have imagined the extent to which candidate Trump actually proved those words true. In the 2016 GOP primaries, and to a slightly lesser extent the 2016 general election, he rode free headlines to victory.
On May 5, the entire news cycle was dominated by a picture of then-candidate Trump eating a taco bowl. The New York Times wrote, “Of all the ways Donald Trump has shocked the political system, one of the most significant is how he wins primary after primary with one of the smallest campaign budgets.”
The price tag on Trump’s free media exposure was in the billions, and it grows every time he clicks the blue “tweet” icon. Type “cov” into the search bar, and Google knows you’re searching for “covfefe,” a word that didn’t exist until the president accidentally tweeted it. Twitter helped take Donald Trump from Chris Cillizza’s punch line to GOP nominee to President of the United States