Tweeter in Chief: An Op-Ed


When is a tweet considered hate-speech? When is a President responsible for anything?

President Donald Trump, our 45th Commander in Chief, takes to Twitter like a baby takes to whining and screaming. He wants milk, he wants to be burped, he wants attention, and he wants it all now! For some oddball reason, despite decades of being a public embarrassment and trash celebrity, his tweets are considered gospel to his many followers, ironically and unironically. It was easy for him to tweet from the comfort of his gold-flake coated toilet then, and it’s much easier to do so as leader of the “free” world.

I can only imagine a White House staff absolutely up to their ears in frustration, trying to keep the man concentrated on policy and people, not just himself. Who on Earth has an entourage of handlers they pay to just sit around and do nothing? People like Trump. And somehow, people like him are getting elected to high office. 

Let him put his foot in his mouth, maybe. If only we could be so lucky. 

Trump’s barely coherent and sometimes made-up words (covfefe), strung along into thinly-threaded sentences, do hold meaning to his followers. Increasingly, instances of major aggression have become common in our daily feeds, many times ending in death and ultimately no justice. At the time of this writing, there have been two mass shootings – El Paso and Dayton – in the span of mere hours. And, from early reports, at least one suspect seems to be a Trump loving, gun toting, white supremacist.

Two days ago, a reporter tweeted the following:

Now, at the moment I type, people lay dead on those very streets. 

Trump’s comments and language, when it came to Rep. Elijah Cummings, were gross and completely dangerous. First, he insults the man and his city. Then, he made fun of an attempted breaking and entering of Cummings’ home days later. Does Trump believe his words matter? Does he understand the impact of what he writes and says? This cult of personality has become a monster of gargantuan proportions, operating under the ever-so effective veil of nationalism and pride of privilege. 

Baltimore is worse than Afghanistan. Mexicans are rapists. Go back to where you came from. We read and hear these things from the dumbest and most insecure public figure that America has ever produced, and yet he hasn’t been tarred and feathered in public. And yet, people continue to cheer at his rallies. And yet, our democracy has turned into a pro-wrestling battle royale, where the spectators are the wrestlers – and the only one cheering uproariously is Trump. Everyone else looks on uncomfortably, but nod along anyway.

Twitter, never add an edit tweet option. We need records. We need to know. We need to remember. We need to understand. 

Well someday, anyway. 

Bill Arceneaux has been an independent writer and film critic in the New Orleans area since 2011, working with outlets like Film Threat, DIG Baton Rouge, Crosstown Conversations, and Occupy. He is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association and is Rotten Tomatoes approved. Follow him on Twitter: @billreviews

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