To push agenda through, Trump distracts public with inane tweets


It’s no secret that President Donald Trump has utilized Twitter to his advantage in briefing the public without going through the press. His love for Twitter is well documented, and he’s done just about everything on the social media platform, from insult late night talk show hosts to threatening nuclear war. While his Twitter habits may seem somewhat bizarre and funny, Trump’s Twitter shenanigans are a tool used in part of a much bigger scheme.

From the very first week of his presidency, Trump has taken to outlandish statements on Twitter to distract from his agenda and lack of progress on meaningful policy initiatives.

Starting his presidency with the ridiculous and easily disprovable claim that his inauguration had “the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe” and continuing on with inane complaints about voter fraud, Trump hand-picked the headlines to come for the following week. Signing seven executive orders in the first 10 days of his presidency, many of his attempts at passing nonsensical or unconstitutional legislation flew under the radar. While the nation remained outraged over the contents of Executive Order 13769 (the Travel Ban), other orders like Order 13771, which  aimed to reduce the total number of federal regulations in the country, were largely ignored by the media and the public. If it were not challenged in court by prudent advocacy groups, Order 13771 would force government agencies to arbitrarily repeal regulations from parts of things like the Clean Air Act or the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The public health benefits that these acts bring far outweigh any benefit that cutting regulations would.

Multiple other events show his tactic of distraction throughout his term as president, such as his strategically timed rallies, holding one right after Michael Flynn’s resignation. Another egregious example is Trump’s torrent of tweets accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower, just as Attorney General Jeff Sessions was thought to have committed perjury during his Senate confirmation hearing. Unsurprisingly, after Sessions had been confirmed, Trump seemed to completely forget about the wiretapping issue.

Probably Trump’s most horrifying attempt at distracting from his own administration’s shortcomings were his nuclear threats at North Korea over Twitter.

“This is a trick out of Vladimir Putin’s book, which is to always whip up an international conflict or to whip up a domestic conflict, to distract everybody from what’s going on internationally,” Charles Hecker, an analyst at Control Risks, said. “It never hurts to whip up a good international conflict when you’re facing some problems at home. We’ve forgotten the Russia investigation for the past few days.”

The most recent of all these social media attacks from Trump have been his stabs at members of NFL teams who have been kneeling during the National Anthem. By attracting the media to these stories, he takes up the space in the news with his baffling statements rather than real issues, such as his failure to properly address the dire post-hurricane conditions in Puerto Rico, or the fact that a GOP-controlled Senate has been once again unable to pass an alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On a previous failed attempt at repealing the ACA, Trump banned transgender people from the Army in what seemed to be an- offhand tweet.

Trump’s attempts at furthering his agenda have been eased by these distractions he’s provided, with the public eye being off of his actual actions. The issue with that, however, is that not only does the public deserve to be informed about the actions of their president, but that Trump’s bold mistruths and statements are often dangerous. His threats aimed at an unstable North Korean leadership could easily backfire, and barring transgender people from the Army is a flagrant abuse of LGBT rights.

“He’s like catnip to the traditional broadcast media,” Paul Levinson, a professor of media studies at Fordham University, said. “When Trump says something like [his statement on NFL players kneeling], they probably realize that it makes things worse [by focusing on it], but they can’t help themselves. It’s still shocking.”

By reporting Trump’s every quip, many media sources have actually enabled Trump’s distraction techniques.

By either failing to recognize his smoke and mirrors or not caring enough to ignore them for the sake of ratings, media sources that report on his statements are assisting Trump in his attempts to dismantle this nation.