On January 20, 2021, the Oval Office of the White House ushered in a new owner. Biden replaced the portrait of populist President Andrew Jackson on the wall on the right hand side of the office door with his idol Benjamin Franklin. He also ordered the removal of the buttons set on the desk by his predecessor that were specifically used to call Coke and soda.
CNN described it as the loneliest time when Trump left the White House on Air Force One on January 20. The 45th President of the United States rarely kept a low profile. After leaving a letter to his successor, he gave the world a silent back.
The more important background to this scene is that Trump’s most frequently spoken personal Twitter account was permanently banned on January 8 after declaring fraudulent presidential election results for several consecutive days. Soon thereafter, the official Twitter accounts representing the president and vice president were also handed over and replaced with the names and avatars of Biden and Harris.
Kylian Conway, Trump’s former senior adviser, once described Trump as “to tweet like we need to eat”. In the past four years, Trump has used Twitter as a private press conference to fire senior officials, declare war and agitate the public. For the most time, he tweeted 200 tweets a day.
Some people criticized him for being public and private and having unclear boundaries, but Trump is obviously very successful in “Ruling the country on Twitter.” Attracting attention and winning traffic is one aspect; more importantly, “Twitter governs the country” has attracted more fans for him. Just like the New York Times senior writer Charlie Warzel, Trump himself is a platform, that is, Trump and his followers have built a powerful and parallel information ecosystem.
But this super “big V”, who had 88 million fans before being banned, left the United States with more than a superficial devastation. When people happily celebrate his departure and being silenced forever, they should also ask further questions: What has changed the United States by Trump’s first presidential Twitter history?
Everything can be “tweeted”
Being unobtrusive and unconcerned are the characteristics of Trump’s personality. The 140-character tweet has become the simplest political weapon for his four years in power. In public, he doesn’t like wearing reading glasses and looking at his cell phone. Most of the time, he will give instructions to the White House social media director Dan Scarvino.
The official Twitter account representing the President of the United States has been replaced by Biden’s name and profile picture
/ For the most time, he posted 200 tweets a day. /
The New York Times analyzed 11,000 of Trump’s tweets in 2019 and found that more than 5,800 contained attacks on individuals or events: 2405 attacks on the Democratic Party, 2065 attacks on his investigations, and publicity. 1705 conspiracy theories. Most of his “attack” remarks were made between 6 am and 10 am-at this time, he was browsing the rolling news of channels such as Fox News, and there was no White House consultant present to supervise him.
With Trump’s “truth” tweets, the American media is often in an awkward position. They can no longer rely on sources from the White House or Congress. Trump bypassed the media channels directly.
There are also senior officials who have the same headache. Former Defense Secretary Mattis, former National Security Adviser Bolton, etc. all learned about their being fired on Twitter. Trump also used Twitter as a diplomatic tool to personally issue war threats to the Iranian President and use US nuclear weapons to intimidate North Korea.
The immediacy and interactive nature of Twitter satisfies Trump’s determination to obtain power from public opinions. The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson once pointed out that the three sources of U.S. presidential power include: formal powers clearly granted by the constitutional framework, party power as a party leader, and power obtained from public opinion if the operation is legal.
When the first two were blocked, Trump released himself even more on Twitter. In December 2018, after he announced plans to withdraw some troops from Syria, members of Congress came to the White House to oppose. According to reports, Trump responded by calling Dan Scarvino: “Tell them how popular my policy is.”
Scarvino then described the posts on social media praising the decision for lawmakers. Aides said that for Trump, the number of likes on Twitter is proof that he made the right decision.
On January 20, 2001, in Maryland, USA, Trump arrived at Andrews Air Force Base and delivered a speech
Getting public support is the driving force behind Trump’s tweets, but he is not satisfied with it. According to “New York Times” statistics, during his presidency, Trump reposted at least 145 unverified Twitter accounts. These accounts push conspiracy theories or extremist content, and more than 20 accounts have been blocked. They include white racists, anti-Muslim bigots, and followers of “Anonymous Q”.
Among them, “Anonymous Q” involves extremely absurd conspiracy theories. It mainly talks about American elites, including Obama, Hillary, and Tom Hanks, secretly controlling an evil organization that kidnap and rape children. And Trump is the hero against this organization.
The absurd remarks are stamped by Trump, making the self-evident truth illegible. Believers of “Anonymous Q”, until the end of Biden’s inauguration, believed that Biden’s victory was an illusion and Trump would secure a second term. Others insist that Trump will still be the “shadow president” during Biden’s term.
Highlight the “ordinary” performance
The seemingly unreasonable tweets have truly reshaped American politics. Studies have pointed out that this style provides viewers with a kind of illusory authenticity. Trump’s blurted, grammatically dubious tweets and endless rally speeches give people a sense of unfettered freedom. Some researchers said that Trump’s Twitter shows a high degree of transparency, which also meets the requirements of people for politicians in the age of social media.
The Guardian published an editorial after Trump’s Twitter was permanently banned, pointing out that Trump’s misleading wording on Twitter surprised people who were tired of the official tone of politicians in the past. Moreover, he is particularly good at mocking and taunting, such as the word “sad” (sad) has been repeatedly mentioned by him, and the context is all ridiculing politicians and the media who are not good to him.
Looking carefully at Trump’s style as a real estate developer in the 1980s, one can find that Trump has always valued and is good at self-promotion. His belief at the time was: “Even if the location of the land is not the best, publicity can make its location better.”
When he got involved in politics in the 21st century, he sneered at traditional propaganda methods. “You can hire a public relations team to promote, but to me, it’s like hiring a bunch of laymen to study the market. I do it myself is the best.” So, the 11,000 Trang sampled in The New York Times In general tweets, he praised himself in 2000.
In fact, using Twitter to promote himself is an important means for Trump, who is a businessman, to build his personal image. Since his first tweet in May 2009, Trump has used this account to portray himself as a sturdy, anti-trend populist.
On February 17, 2002, the Trump Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, USA, was demolished and demolished. A large number of onlookers gathered at the scene.
Incredibly, at first, his Twitter “Road to Fame” was ridiculed by some people. But he quickly applied his fame to the presidential primaries within the Republican Party.
Twitter accounts quickly proved to be Trump’s valuable resource against more well-funded and professional competitors. For example, he has given a series of nicknames for his opponents, some of which are still popular today, such as “Low Energy Jeb”, “Crazy Bernie”, “Little Mark”, “Sleepy Joe” and so on.
/ The word “sad” (sad) has been repeatedly mentioned by him, and the context is all about satirizing politicians and the media who are not good to him. /
After becoming president, Trump, who was unabashed, became even more unscrupulous on his personal Twitter. He called his political opponents losers, called reporters idiots, and complained directly about anything that happened in the world. This gave the outside world a prominent impression that he was just “just talking” and was responsible for improvisation, and the rest was handed over to the advisers around him and the US Congress.
On August 2, 2018, at a rally attended by Trump, the crowd raised the “Anonymous Q” sign
Political scientist Benjamin Moffett concluded that the 2016 election became a major node in the wave of populism, which is not so much a political ideology as a performance. Political actors such as Trump and Brazilian President Bolsonaro played the role of defenders of the “people” in the fight against the “elite”, incorporating bad behavior to prove their ordinaryness.
The sequelae of “Twitter governing the country”
Starting in 2021, Trump has temporarily disappeared from social media, but Trump has successfully rewritten the rules of the game. Right-wing extreme remarks and rumors continue to be repeatedly banned. More importantly, as the American media pointed out, “Now, every politician is forced to participate in politics on social media.”
According to the latest analysis of the Pew Center on the social media of congressmen, compared with 2016, “congressmen’s tweets are almost twice as often as before, and followers are almost three times as often as before. The average amount of reposts posted is as much as before. More than 6 times as much”.
The influence of Trump’s style on the Republican Party is paramount. Even if companies such as Amazon and Apple try to curb violent speech by deleting the Trump-supporting social app Parler, his eldest son, Donald Jr., is sending wrong information to his followers. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green imitated Trump’s angry tone on Twitter and promoted her conspiracy theory online.
Trump made an opening. It is not difficult to infer that with the support of social networks and algorithms, it will be more and more common to use extreme speech tweets to cater to extreme public opinion politicians.