President Trump’s “Tweet First and Question Later” strategy is nothing new, but earlier this month Trump was on twitter during his own impeachment inquiry. Trump wasn’t in the building, for the hiring, but his presence could be felt. During Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony the President was busy at work tweeting. He personally attacked Yovanovitch’s work history and how failure followed her and how the president can fire diplomats at will saying they work for the pleasure of the president.
What makes this tweet different than any of President Trump’s 46.5 thousand others? Committee Chair Adam Schiff referred to the tweet during the hiring and gave Yovanovitch a chance to respond to the Presidents message. Democrats and thousands in the comments section on twitter are calling this witness intimidation. While some Republicans are even questioning the President’s Twitter usage. As the inquiry is wrapping up that doesn’t mean the tweeting will slow down.
In “How Democracies Dies” by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt it details how Donald Trump matches the 4 indicators of an Authoritarian. This case, in particular, reinforces the indicator (2. The denial of the legitimacy of political opponents). Looking through Trump’s social media you can see numerous examples of this. For instance, since being elected in 2016, Trump tweeted about Hilary Clinton 191 times. Still degrading Clinton after the election. Some of Donald Trumps more recent tweets are centered around the impeachment inquiry. Trump’s twitter is turning the impeachment against the Democrats. One tweet has the President claiming support for the impeachment is down in polls. Looking through Trumps page you can see his 2020 campaign is as strong as ever. These impeachment inquiries are galvanizing Trump’s fan base and making it stronger than ever. That is, if you believe what’s on the twitter.
We do know that the President personally manages his own twitter and the words typed on his personal phone are his and not some press secretary. Trump utilizes social media to get his message across to his 67 million followers. Tweeting on average 10 times a day. Getting mentioned 10,000 times in 20 minutes. On average Trump’s tweets have a market value of $935,000. As the great American circus showman P.T. Barnum says, “there is no such thing as bad publicity”. President Trump is running his own circus in Washington using the same guidelines as Barnum.
Levitsky, Steven. How Democracies Die. New York: Crown Publishing , 2018.
n/a. How Does President Trump Tweet. 2019. https://www.tweetbinder.com/blog/trump-twitter/. 25 11 2019.
Trump, Donald. Twitter. 15 11 2019. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1195356198347956224?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1195356198347956224&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nbcnews.com%2Fpolitics%2Ftrump-impeachment-inquiry%2Ftrump-tweeted-marie-yovanovitch-testifie. 25 11 2019.
—. Twitter . 2019. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor. 25 11 2019.
Zurcher, Anthony. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50428537. 15 11 2019. 25 11 2019.