There is practically nothing which defines Trump’s presidency more than Trump on Twitter, which has been an open route into whatever is on his mind. And Americans from across the political spectrum are tired of it according to a poll released by Politico.
According to the poll which sampled about 2,000 American voters, 69 percent believe that Trump “uses Twitter too much” and 59 percent say his use of Twitter is “a bad thing.” Even 53 percent of GOP voters say he tweets too much, though they do believe his tweets are a good instead of bad thing.
A Too Personal Connection?
Trump has defended his usage of social media and claims that the mainstream media is trying to shut them down. And some individuals believe that his constant tweeting is a sign of his desire to directly connect with the American people and not go through accepted media channels, which is why the media opposes it. Glenn Reynolds with USA Today argued in December that Trump’s tweets are the equivalent of FDR’s famous fireside chats, where the president regularly directly spoke to Americans to show he understood their concerns.
However, Trump’s clear willingness to say whatever is on his mind in his tweets has gotten the President in trouble. For example, Trump tweeted on Monday that his controversial executive order which barred travel from several Muslim-majority was, in fact, a “travel ban.” This undercuts his own legal team’s attempts to prevent the ban from getting struck down in court, and his opponents have used Trump’s statements and tweets to argue that the ban is an attack on Muslims and thus a violation of the Constitution.
Throughout his presidency and campaign, there has been a constant pattern where Trump says something ridiculous, his aides try to clarify the statement and say he did not mean it, and then Trump on Twitter declared, “Yeah I did.” The travel ban is one such example, as Sean Spicer had earlier chided reporters for calling it a travel ban before Trump’s tweet affirmed that the president believed it was.
Trump’s critics charge that by tweeting whatever is on his mind, he appears unstable and unreliable, which is all the more problematic in a world which doubts America’s credibility. And this poll indicates that the voters hope Trump can put down his phone and focus on fixing America’s problems.
If the fact that voters generally disapprove of Trump’s constant tweets is bad for him, the Politico poll also underscored that voters disapprove of the Trump presidency and his recent actions such as his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement.
The poll was taken on June 1, shortly after Trump on Twitter announced his decision to withdraw. In the poll, 57 percent of voters said that the United States should be part of the Paris agreements compared to 24 percent saying it should not. Slightly more voters said that exiting the agreements would be good instead of bad for the American economy and businesses, but a much larger margin worried about the withdrawal’s impact on the environment and America’s standing in the world.
Furthermore, 45 percent of voters said they had a favorable opinion of Trump compared to 51 percent saying unfavorable. However, while 45 percent may seem low, it actually represents an improvement compared to a Politico poll last month which gave Trump a 42 percent approval rating.
But low poll ratings and general disapproval of Trump on Twitter will not keep him off social media. Reports indicate that the president may live-tweet during former FBI director James Comey’s testimony on Thursday about possible misconduct by the White House and connections between Trump and Russia.
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