Thursday, July 11, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

Social media.

Trump's day began with 16 tweets before 9:15 A.M, including a thread that reads as deranged even by Trump's standards. In it, he called himself "so great looking" and a "stable genius" before swerving into racial slurs and nicknames for Democratic presidential candidates. (He apparently tried to call South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg "Alfred E. Neumann," after the famous Mad magazine character, but accidentally tagged the unrelated Twitter user @AlfredENeuman99, who is not a fan.)

Some of the more alarming tweets were later deleted and re-posted, by someone with access to Trump's account, with better spelling, more coherent wording, and corrected tags.

Many of the other tweets were spent promoting what amounted to a campaign event about it in the form of a White House "social media summit." No actual social media company was invited, but the exclusively pro-Trump crowd of trolls and "influencers" did feature some notable names. The guest list included:

  • Ali Alexander, who tried to sabotage Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris as she rose in the polls after the first debate by spreading birther-style rumors that she was "not an American black." (Trump's son Donald Jr., who sometimes gets assigned social media outreach to the fringes of Trump's base, retweeted Alexander.)
  • Ryan Fournier, one of the founders of "Students for Trump," whose partner in that venture was arrested three months ago on federal fraud charges.
  • Ben Garrison, a political cartoonist known for his drawings of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, most famously one in which "the Rothschilds" and George Soros are shown holding the puppet strings of the U.S. military. Garrison was uninvited at the last minute, although Trump hasn't said why he was invited in the first place.

The main theme of the "summit" was Trump's favorite (but false) conspiracy theory that social media companies are targeting conservatives. None of the people invited have actually been banned from any social media platforms.

The summit attendees were also present when Trump announced his latest swerve on census policy, where they picked fights with actual reporters.

Who cares?

  • It's wrong to use taxpayer money to reward your own political supporters.
  • The President of the United States has more important things to worry about than his Twitter follower count.
  • People who surround themselves with criminals, overt racists and anti-Semites, and conspiracy theorists do it because they like what those people have to say.