Every new tweet is the one that finally crosses the line, according to mainstream pundits. Be it insulting a journalist about her plastic surgery or posting a video of himself physically attacking a CNN avatar. Surely, they claim, this will be the one that finishes Trump — or at least forces him to rein in his late-night bloviating.
But it just hasn’t happened.
If anything, the opposite appears to be the case, as Trump himself points out. Sure, tens -- nay, hundreds -- of millions of people in the U.S. and around the world may take offense and question his fitness for office. But his tweets also allow him to maintain a direct connection with his supporters, who are not only not offended, but either agree with his sentiments or find them amusing.
The fact is, social media was a central pillar of Trump’s long-shot, outsider campaign for the presidency, allowing him to succeed where conventional wisdom said he would undoubtedly fail. And he’s not about to stop now.
That’s the message he has hammered home again and again, whenever the chorus of mainstream opinion, including many prominent members of his own party, call for him to desist from the loose-cannon social-media strategy.
The latest example comes from an article in The New York Times Magazine by Mark Leibovich, who asked the commander-in-chief about his social media use. He actually encouraged him to continue tweeting, as the tweets are more informative than White House press releases.
“It’s my voice. They want to take away my voice,” Trump said of calls from Republican congressmen to stop tweeting. Noting how many Twitter followers he has, Trump vowed to Leibovich: “They’re not going to take away my social media.”
As noted, this isn’t the first time Trump has credited social media for allowing him to maintain a channel of communication with his supporters, outside the traditional, left-leaning news organizations he pillories as “fake.”
In an interview with the Financial Times back in April, he boasted: “Without the tweets, I wouldn’t be here… I have over 100 million followers between Facebook, Twitter [and] Instagram… Over 100m. I don’t have to go to the fake media.”
More recently, following the CNN video controversy, Trump expressed his defiance in a message he combined into two tweets on July 1: “The FAKE & FRAUDULENT NEWS MEDIA is working hard to convince Republicans and others I should not use social media - but remember, I won.... the 2016 election with interviews, speeches and social media. I had to beat #FakeNews, and did. We will continue to WIN!”