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Is Trump Unfiltered the New Normal for Presidents?

by Countable | 5.31.17

Let's be blunt: there are a whole host of characteristics that make Donald J. Trump a whole new breed of president, starting with the fact that he started his political career with the presidency.

But the fact that President Trump maintains his own personal Twitter account and has unencumbered access to it sets him apart from every one of his predecessors -- and not just because of the technology.

"This President's use of Twitter has been revealing, and opened a window into his thinking.”

Trump uses Twitter to makes policy prescriptions, circulates news that he considers real, and attacks news he considers fake. He also regularly insults other U.S. politicians and international leaders.

The president has resisted any attempts by his lawyers and staff to refrain from tweeting about topics that could affect him or his agenda legally, like ongoing Russia investigations or the intent of his executive travel ban. He even tweeted on May 12 his "active presidency" made it impossible for his media staff to always be entirely accurate in stating his positions, so perhaps better to simply cancel press briefings.

Late last night Twitter erupted in response to a tweet from President Trump. It appeared to be a typo that was then cut off mid-thought, "Despite the negative press covfefe". (Yes, we know Spellcheck. It’s not a word.) Six hours later that tweet was deleted and replaced with this:

Responses to both were largely mocking, though others defended the president for being a human who makes mistakes. Still others accused the president of using the whole incident as a distraction from the ongoing Russia investigations.

Citizens are now used to their local and state politicians having active social media presences, often that they maintain themselves. Ithaca, NY mayor Svante Myrick, who posts daily to both Facebook and Twitter and is considered a rising star in Democratic politics, weighed in on whether President Trump is setting an unusual precedent with problematic implications:

"People should have access to the direct thoughts and feelings of their elected leaders. The best way to do that will evolve with technology. FDR speaking directly to the public on the radio and Kennedy looking into the TV cameras were precedent-setting. This President's use of Twitter has been revealing, and opened a window into his thinking.”

In our swiftly changing media landscape the norms for a president’s interaction with electronic communication and social media are also changing, perhaps irreversibly. President George W. Bush famously sent out a farewell email to all his friends at the beginning of his eight years in office. Next, President Barack Obama fought tooth and nail to maintain use of his personal Blackberry for communication with close friends and his senior staff. His spokesperson, Robert Gibbs, said:

"He believe it’s a way of keeping in touch with folks, a way of doing it outside of getting stuck in a bubble”

President Obama had to agree to have various security features installed on the phone to comply with security protocols, to have the list of contacts vetted, and for all contacts to be briefed by White House counsel. Eventually he moved on from his Blackberry to a very limited smartphone with the same restrictions.

If President Obama managed to pierce the presidential bubble slightly to allow for personal communications with a select group, President Trump's Twitter feed has popped the bubble completely. Reports are even suggesting he is freely giving out his cell phone number to world leaders, suggesting that they give him a call, presenting a different, though not unrelated, set of questions

Will we ever be able to go back to a world where the president’s communication with the public is always filtered through press offices? Should we?

Should the President of the United States have an unfiltered channel for communicating with the American public and the world? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Urbanics Group via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(131)
  • Azrael
    05/31/2017
    ···

    Let's return class to the office of president Time to take the trash out Thanks to all Thought I was alone in that thought That old saying ....you can't buy class, manners or intelligence

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  • Jeanne
    05/31/2017
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    No. There's absolutely nothing normal about 45. He's the biggest outlier in the history of our species, to such an extent that he is a direct threat to our nation, our country and our future. We may not survive his time in the WH. He needs to be impeached and replaced.

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  • Jennifer
    05/31/2017
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    Never ever normalize this behavior. I fully support government reps, including the president, using social media, but it can't be unfiltered. These are people who represent the whole of the US so their words perhaps have more gravity. MSM and many other ares starting to normalize what's going on with our government and it's anything but normal. A little decorum, a little class, and thinking before he speaks would serve 45 well.

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  • Isabel
    05/31/2017
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    There isn't anything normal about this President. In fact, it's both disturbing & deplorable. This President during his campaign admitted to not paying his taxes because he could. He openly bragged about sexual harassing woman & possibly raping his own wife through her own admission. She only took it back because she was threaten. Y Trumps gangster lawyer Cohen who would have cut her off including Ivanka & her two brothers. His racial, bigoted, sexist & homophobic comments were disgusting. He openly called for violence at his rallies & offered to pay legal fees for those that were hurt. He called the media the "Enemy of the State", something that Putin & other dictators say. He compliments leaders like the Turkey President, Russian President Putin, the North Korean President saying their all strong leaders that he admires. He asked Wikileaks to hack Secretary Hillary Emails speaking directly with Putin. He does business with Russian Oligarchs who report directly to Putin & trump is probably involved in money laundering. He hadn't shown us his Taxes so we do not know who or what foreign government he does business with or owes money to for favors. He has not put his businesses in blind trust like every other president & is profiting from the presidency. He has his daughter & son in law in the WH also profiting from the presidency His daughter just received contracts from china to make her shoes there laborers getting !1.00 an hour yet she claims she's for human rights. He treated our allies with disrespect yet he praised the Saudi who were directly involved in 911 & never spoke about the need for human rights & said will would not get in loved. He tried to bribe the FBI & others to drop the investigation against Russians involvement in our elections & his possible collision. And with all of this the Republican party silence in my opinion will be forever stained in history. This President is a disgrace to our country & the world.

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  • queerf0x
    05/31/2017
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    Normalizing anything Trump has done during his sham of a presidency is horrifying and directly detrimental to progress in our country. We should only learn from his numerous, colossal mistakes so that maybe they won't repeat themselves moving forward.

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  • Ticktock
    05/31/2017
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    No, Trump is just undisciplined, spoiled, juvenile and ignorant. I hope he is the last of his kind ever elected to the Presidency. His ignorance of the operation of our government, his prejudices, his lack of any code of conduct other than serving himself and his financial empire leaves nothing to be admired. I hope the next President has more self respect, governmental experience, better education and morals than the character in office now! We need someone the people can respect, we may not agree with their decision but we need to be able to be able respect the person that makes them. I have no respect for Trump!

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  • Cindy
    05/31/2017
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    Trump is the poster child for Narcissistic Personality Disorder and should not be president of any country, let alone the USA.

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  • Lee
    05/31/2017
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    As a psychologist and typically weird human being, I know as well as any child that 45's behaviors are abnormal - not because they are strange/odd but because there is a pathological disregard for others.

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  • YorEl
    05/31/2017
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    He isn't unfiltered, he's unhinged. Big difference. We have a completely insane person running the country, and the only outcome I see so far, is war with someone or impeachment since he is pissing everyone off and giving a bad example of America. Or, perhaps it is the right one, fact is, we need to change.

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  • Hope
    05/31/2017
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    Because we have a socially, intellectually and mentally unprepared President does not mean this is the norm from now on. The experiment is a failure and should not be repeated .

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  • Brian
    06/01/2017
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    Our "president" is an embarrassment to the entire world. He is a joke, a liar, a crook and a out right disgrace to this once great country. I am disgusted to be an American under this joker's "presidency". Disgusting. All Republicans that support this fool are clearly only putting party in front of country.

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  • Wanda
    06/01/2017
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    I hope not. Civility and class need to be returned to the White House. The present occupant is an embarrassment to all of us. He did a lousy job of representing this country. However, his daughter managed to obtain 100 million dollars. This family needs to resign and slink off into the night.

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  • Cabraswel
    05/31/2017
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    No, you have to have a mental disorder to always be on that level. Most people experience variations. Trump is just not used to answering to anyone. He lives in another world, one not shared by the rest of humanity.

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  • Anna
    05/31/2017
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    We shouldn't even be entertaining this as a topic of conversation. The standard of excellence that the US and our world allies should expect - and get - in the incredibly important position of PRESIDENT OF THE US, has been dropped below any level of recognition. Tell me honestly - anyone - if even a weeks worth of the crap 45 says and does was done by Obama, Clinton, or any other democrat, the GOP would be shutting down the government - again. The double standard is absurd. The US - and the rest of the world - deserves a forward thinking leader w intelligence, morality, integrity, vision, strategy, diplomacy, and knowledge of the law as well as the functionings of a democratic nation.

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  • Buffalo
    05/31/2017
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    Impeach pig Chump now.

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  • Betty
    05/31/2017
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    Trump is abnormal. And he is corrupt. Get him out! Save America, you guys in Washington. We pay your salaries, you don't pay ours!

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  • Rebecca
    05/31/2017
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    No, there's nothing professional or dignified about this behavior. It represents poorly for all of America and gives an appalling role model for the children of America. It indicates an utter lack of ability to think before action.

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  • Patrick
    05/31/2017
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    He is normal; for a demented, narcissistic, sack of crap. If another one like this is ever elected; we should just descend into anarchy. It would make more sense.

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  • Denise
    05/31/2017
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    He is an unfiltered National risk

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  • Laura
    06/01/2017
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    Trump is an idiot at best and a danger at least. You are complicit. I will devote my time to running you out of office.

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