President-elect Donald Trump won’t end the onslaught of posts on Twitter that fed his unconventional campaign, even after taking on the formalized duties of the Oval Office later this month.
Making news and issuing statements on social media sites that also include Facebook and Instagram will “absolutely” continue, despite earlier promises by Trump to cut back, incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
“You know what? The fact of the matter is that when he tweets, he gets results,” Spicer said.
In recent tweets alone, Trump has hinted he’d like to change decades of policy on nuclear weapons; praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin even after accusations by intelligence agencies that Russia attempted to tamper with U.S. elections; and said the United Nations is a “club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.”
Days after his victory on Nov. 8, Trump said in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he was rethinking his use of social media, which had been a potent weapon during more than a year on the campaign trail. “I’m going to be very restrained, if I use it at all, I’m going to be very restrained,” Trump said.
Since then, during the countdown to Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, he’s shown little sign that he intends to follow that pledge.
On Dec. 28, the incoming president tweeted that he was trying to disregard statements by President Barack Obama that he considered “inflammatory.”
“Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!” Trump said in the post.
After Putin said on Dec. 30 that he wouldn’t respond in kind to an Obama administration order expelling 35 Russian diplomats in response to that government’s hacking of Democratic Party officials, Trump tweeted:
“Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!”
A day after praising Putin, Trump raised eyebrows by wishing a “Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies.” New Year’s Day brought a more conciliatory greeting “to all Americans” that cast ahead to “a wonderful & prosperous 2017 as we work together.”
Trump’s tweets have also targeted specific companies, including Lockheed Martin for what the president-elect termed “out of control” costs for the F-35 fighter jet, and Boeing for “ridiculous” costs to build a new 747 Air Force One for future presidents. “Cancel order!” Trump said in a Twitter post on Dec. 6, sending Boeing shares lower.
Spicer was asked on “This Week” about Trump’s Twitter statement on Dec. 22 that the U.S. “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capacity until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”
“You know, with all due respect, I think it freaks the mainstream media out that he has this following of over 45 plus million people that follow him on social media, that he can have a direct conversation,” he said. “He doesn’t have to have it funneled through the media.”
Trump currently has 18.3 million followers on Twitter, 16.8 million on Facebook and 4.5 million on Instagram. He has tweeted more than 34,000 times since joining the social media platform in 2009.
“Trump has his own way of communicating with America,” Rep. Chris Collins, a New York Republican who was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump, said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
(c) 2017, Bloomberg · Alan Levin