The ongoing Donald Trump tweets controversies have made it an open question whether Trump will ever be able to operate within the norms people expect from the president of the United States. Trump has serious Twitter issues, and at this juncture it’s reasonable to wonder whether his staff should insist on him giving up his Twitter account entirely.
SNL makes fun of Trump's incessant Twittering. So Trump responds angrily...on Twitter. I'm not making this up.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) December 4, 2016
History of Donald Trump Tweets
It is the understatement of this – and the previous – century to say that Donald Trump has made a habit of saying outrageous and even offensive things in his tweets. From recently suggesting that millions of illegals voted in the 2016 Election in California to implying that former Miss Universe Alicia Machado starred in adult films, Trump seems to have no filter between his brain and the tweet button.
Trump is also famously touchy, often responding angrily in tweets to the slightest offense. Throughout the campaign for president, Trump was often up at the wee hours of the morning tweeting his barbs, threats and accusations about Hillary Clinton, the news media and even other Republicans.
The President-Elect Tweets
After Donald Trump won the Republican nomination by virtually disemboweling his opponents in his speeches and his tweets, some people assumed that a “Trump pivot” would occur in which Trump would become less abrasive, less angry and – well – less Trump.
However, that didn’t occur. Instead of restraining his rants at the podium and on Twitter, Donald Trump doubled down on them. Most people then quite naturally assumed that this would crush his campaign and that he would essentially talk himself out of the presidency. Obviously, this wasn’t the case either.
Given Trump’s success using his “loud and obnoxious” approach, it might come as no surprise that his initial forays into foreign policy have been equally reckless and ill advised. But the problem this time is that Trump’s inability to change either his message or delivery – or to take advice from others – really isn’t going to work out so well.
Tweets from Taiwan to Timbuktu
Okay, Trump hasn’t literally tweeted about Timbuktu. But he did issue a tweet two days ago bragging about the phone call he had with the president of Taiwan, who he said call to congratulate him for his victory. The preening Donald Trump of course didn’t realize that tweeting about this phone call was a mistake of epic proportions.
The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2016
A little history on the subject. The United States has not had official diplomatic relations with Taiwan since 1979. As a part of the rapprochement with China and to reduce the chance that the Chinese might launch an attack on Taiwan to reclaim it – the United States agreed to have only unofficial relations with the tiny island nation.
This ambiguity not only served United States and Chinese interests, it helped protect Taiwan itself from future Chinese aggression. Donald Trump – who’s never been exactly a master of subtlety – is clearly out of his depth when it comes to such foreign policy maneuverings.
Yes, we do in fact have less official contact with Taiwan – frequently selling them military equipment and working with them as part of an overall Pacific alliance opposing the Chinese. But the aforementioned agreement meant that we weren’t supposed to literally rub this fact in the faces of the Chinese government.
In all probability, while the current president of Taiwan might have thought it was a good idea to call Donald Trump with a congratulatory message, it’s highly unlikely that she would have been enthusiastic about Donald Trump tweets on the subject. The United States and China are already experiencing significant tensions over seagoing access in the area, and Trump has only added fuel to the fire. And he’s not even president yet.
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]