By now, the rhythms of this presidential news cycle are familiar: As you’re heading home from work, explosive news breaks. By evening, Sean Spicer will be issuing denials from the bushes outside the White House. And in the interim, someone will go through President Trump’s Twitter account and find The Tweet.
Sometimes The Tweet is from the 2016 campaign, but the best ones are usually from somewhere between 2012 and 2014 or so, back when our president was just a guy on the Internet (albeit a guy who constantly flirted with running for president on national television).
You’ll recognize The Tweet by its ballooning retweets, its swarms of angry replies, and its eerily specific, utterly self-assured condemnation of whatever Donald Trump is up to that day.
Here is The Tweet of this news cycle, a classic of the genre:
Crooked Hillary Clinton and her team “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” Not fit!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2016
The phrase “highly classified information” is literally in the lede of the Washington Post piece from last night that reported Trump had revealed said classified information to Russian diplomats visiting the White House. But it’s Trump’s breezy declaration about his opponent – “Not fit!” – that really puts this one over the top.
“For every Trump action,” Seth Meyers observed on Late Night a few weeks ago, “there’s an equal and opposite Trump clip.” (Or tweet.) Perhaps the president is unstuck in time, the Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri posited in March.
Here are The Tweets from the last few headlines of this presidency:
President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your “powder” for another (and more important) day!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2013
It’s Thursday. How many people have lost their healthcare today?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2014
(That one got it down to the very day of the week.)
On a perennial Trump favorite, the beautiful game:
Can you believe that,with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.Worse than Carter
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2014
Of course, politicians saying one thing and doing another is a storied American tradition. The Daily Show built a cottage industry compiling contradictory statements from assorted legislators in the Bush and Obama years.
But back in that technological dark age, doing so generally required access to years of news footage and a working knowledge of editing software. These days, all you need is a few spare minutes and a Twitter account — and the president’s, fittingly, is a gold mine.
Trump defends Comey firing, insists Democrats ‘will be thanking me!’
May 10 – 9:18 AM
Trump threatens Comey in tweet
May 12 – 2:29 PM