Wednesday, May 1, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He spent even more time than usual on Twitter.

For better or for worse, Trump's lackadaisical work habits are common knowledge now. He typically spends three days a week at one of his vacation homes, often has weekdays with no real work schedule, and famously spends hours in the middle of the business day in "executive time"—a euphemism for binge-tweeting, watching cable news programs, and other forms of self-care unique to Trump.

Today was unusual even by Trump's standards. He spent an hour doing nothing but retweeting comments from people attacking a firefighter's union for endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. (Trump, whose chances of staying out of jail are increased the longer he remains protected by the DOJ policy against indicting a sitting president, is more afraid of Biden's candidacy than he is of any other Democrat's, according to people who have spoken about it with him.)

All told, Trump spent over an hour manually retweeting 58 people claiming to be firefighters outraged by the International Association of Fire Fighters' endorsement of Biden in the Democratic primary. The IAFF based its endorsement on a poll of its members showing that, of the 60% of its members who were Democrats or independents, Biden was overwhelmingly the first or second choice of most respondents.

Trump's 81 total tweets today appear to be a record for his presidency. Trump also managed to fit a single meeting and a public dinner into his busy day.

Not all of the 58 retweets remain in place. For example, one of Trump's "supporters" immediately changed their Twitter name—which displayed in the retweet—to "Fuck Donald Trump." It was eventually taken down.

Part of Trump's early-morning rage comes from fear that Biden connects better with working-class voters than he does. Trump also melted down last month when Biden was cheered at a speech he gave to an electrical workers' union.

This may be because Trump actually believes his own press about appealing to poor and working-class Americans. In reality, his base of support in the 2016 election was wealthier voters. Trump, who has tried to bust unions in his own businesseslost union households decisively to Hillary Clinton—herself no favorite of unions.

Why should I care about this?

  • It's not great to have an elderly president awake before dawn and obsessively attacking political rivals.
  • In a democracy, presidents owe loyalty to voters, not the other way around.