Twitter played a huge part in the 2016 presidential election, with both candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, using the social media platform to attack one another. However, when the election’s victor Donald Trump took office in January, nobody quite expected the business mogul to continue, if not ramp up his Twitter activity.
Since his inauguration, the president has continued to use the social media platform to speak directly to his supporters, and in doing so, attack those who oppose him. And it would be fair to say that some of those tweets have sparked a good deal of controversy, including his claims that his predecessor Barack Obama ordered wires to be tapped in Trump Tower, referring to the judge who overturned his travel ban as a “so-called judge,” and claiming that Chicago is “totally out of control.”
However, perhaps Trump’s tweeting reached peak controversy on Sunday when according to CNET, he tweeted a video from what some say is a highly questionable source, of him performing in a WWE contest. In the video, Trump body slams and punches an opponent, however, superimposed over the opponent’s head is the CNN logo.
The tweet was captioned “#FraudNewsCNN,” and with over 300,000 retweets and over 500,000 likes, it’s been well received by his supporters, and equally mocked by his critics.
Facing a barrage of criticism for his use of Twitter whilst in office, the president unsurprisingly took to Twitter on Saturday to defend his use of the social media site. According to the Washington Post, in response to claims that his use of social media isn’t presidential, Trump agreed, claiming that his tweets are “modern day presidential.”
And like it or not, he’s right.
Donald Trump’s tweeting is “modern day presidential,” in fact, by convention, it’s presidential. That’s because Trump is now the president of the United States, and what he does as president defines the office of the presidency, which is undeniably a worrying thought for his critics. Yet, for his supporters, “modern day presidential” is exactly what they asked for.
Whilst the office of the president is one steeped in tradition, it’s also one that’s constantly evolving. Take John Quincy Adams for example, before his presidency, it was considered extremely shameful for a president to go outside, with the widespread belief that sunlight impeded one’s ability to lead. However, Adams famously chose to buck the trend and enjoy three hours of the sun and ever since, it’s been accepted as completely normal for a president to do the same.
More recently, Bill Clinton was the first president to use the internet and send an e-mail in office, putting technology at the heart of the White House for the first time.
How a president acts and behaves in office defines the entire office of the presidency, not just for that president’s term, but for future presidencies also. With that in mind, like it or not, Donald Trump’s erratic use of Twitter is now a presidential behavior, or as he calls it, “modern day presidential.”
You might not like how Donald Trump behaves in office, but the very fact that he is president makes his behavior presidential and it’s about time we accept that.
[Featured Image by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images]