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Some champion Donald Trump for his exceptional ability to speak his mind in a direct, straightforward manner, defying the roles of typical political jargon, while others find his tone and rhetoric unprofessional or petty. One thing we can all agree on is his uncanny ability to polarize the public’s opinion of him.
When students at Lakes Community High School were surveyed concerning how they view Trump’s presence on Twitter, the responses were overwhelmingly divided.
“While I do feel that the tweets that came from Trump’s official twitter account were definitely unprofessional, they were very effective at generating publicity,” senior Ethan Kiley said.
Perhaps it is not necessarily a matter of what Trump is saying, but rather what he is doing, and the nature of how he has chosen to convey his words to the masses. In more traditional practices, presidents of America’s past have fed their ideologies to the public through media outlets like press conferences or radio communication, like Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats. Journalists and reporters have served as the link that bridges the gap between politicians and the general public for the better part of our nation’s history.
What happens when one chooses to bypass that bridge? No edits, no filter. Pure, direct thought is what remains. To some, it is something to be revered, and to others, perhaps it is something to be feared.
Trump has made the decision to sidestep the media. Yet through a different form of media, social media, Trump’s tweets have been the center of news station reports, newspapers articles and online forums since the first few debates of the 2016 election.
“As you all know, I have a running war with the media, they are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth,” Trump said in his statement at the Central Intelligence Agency Headquarters on Saturday, Jan. 21 in Langley, Va.
Trump has his reasons for choosing Twitter as a form of communication, and without a team of individuals filtering thought and expression to the confines of what is considered diplomatic or respectful, perhaps we enter into uncharted territory.
According to a tweet from NBC News Network’s Kelly O’Donnell, “The White House social media accounts do transfer to the new administration,” meaning that White House officials will be running @POTUS with Tweets from Trump himself being marked with “-DJT.” Trump’s personal account, @realDonaldTrump, is still activated and is predicted to continue being used throughout his presidency.
Through his personal account, the uncensored thoughts of the nation’s leader are exposed for all to see. P.W. Singer, a defense expert cited in an article by Nahal Toosi about the threats that Trump’s twitter account could pose to the risk of national security, notes that this is one of the first times that a president has “shared so much of themselves, not just what they’re saying but their psychological tics in such an overt manner.” He brings to attention that we can be sure that “foreign actors are studying that too.” Anything that is tweeted regarding political controversy on U.S. soil can and will be accessible overseas.
“It would prevent him from being seen as ignorant in the public eye (to an extent) if he could control his tweets or simply delete his Twitter,” junior Cami Bowen said.
It should be noted that Donald Trump is not the first president to have used Twitter. “Although Twitter has been around for most of Barack Obama’s presidency, the outgoing president has been careful in using the medium,” Nahal Toosi said.
With a portion of his tweets directed at defending criticism or targeting individual Americans, it could potentially evolve and become an issue of constitutionality.
“You know you have so many followers, so many people waiting on each character he puts on twitter, so now how does that question checks and balances?” Michael Krecker, AP Government teacher, said.
Despite the issues facing Trump’s activity on Twitter, he has the right to freedom of speech.
“[Twitter is] merely another medium of communication. It is a choice as to what we listen to,” senior Vincent Nabor said.