(Rich Galen, Mullings) – President-elect Donald J. Trump has become the most efficient communicator in the history of any leader, or any country (or cave), at any time in human history.
With 140 characters in a Tweet, he can set off a firestorm that has the pundit class in a projectile sweat, using tens – hundreds – of thousands of words in response.
The other day it was an early morning Tweet about how much it was going to cost to build at least two new airplanes to serve as Air Force One:
“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!”
8:52 AM – 6 Dec 2016
The fact-checkers weighed in immediately. Politifact.com calculated that the total cost of R&D, building, and upgrades would be about “$3.73 billion over 12 years.” But then the checkers appropriately pointed out: “[I]t’s no secret that defense contracts have a history of escalating in cost over time.”
As background Politifact.com reminds us that the current Air Force One planes (there are two) were “ordered under Ronald Reagan and delivered in 1990 first used by George H.W. Bush.” Not only that, but that version of the 747 – 747-200 – hasn’t even been manufactured in 24 years and spare parts are becoming … spare.
I spent six hours on Amtrak travelling from Washington, DC to New York to spend about 12 minutes – not on CNN, but on CNN International, debating the Tweet that took, maybe, 25 seconds out of the President-elect’s morning.
No one in Warsaw, Indiana saw that discussion, but people in Warsaw, Poland know well my position.
The next Big Tweet of the week was his getting into a fight with the guy who is the president of United Steelworkers Local 1999 in Indianapolis. To be fair, I don’t think President-elect Trump started this one.
It seems Chuck Jones took issue with Trump’s claim of having saved over 1,000 jobs. According to CNN “that Trump has fallen short of his campaign promise to keep Carrier from moving 1,400 jobs to Mexico.”
That prompted Mr. Trump to take to his Twitter machine with:
“Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!”
THAT in turn, caused some people, like former Labor Secretary Robert Reich to become apoplectic on Anderson Cooper’s CNN program about Trump singling out a particular person, saying:
“You are going to be president shortly, you are going to have at your command not just Twitter, but also the CIA, the IRS, the FBI. If you have this kind of thin-skinned vindictiveness attitude toward anybody who criticizes you, we are in very deep trouble, and, sir, so are you.”
I pointed out in a Tweet of my own (if you want to keep up, follow me at @RichGalen) that if you want an example of thin skinned-ness and vindictiveness you don’t have to look much farther than one Barack Obama who turned the entire power of the DoJ against Fox News reporter James Rosen.
Obama had his Administration investigate Rosen for espionage for having reported on a classified document from – wait for it – the Department of State.
According to the Washington Post:
“Investigators pulled Rosen’s security badge records, phone logs and his personal e-mails, but they never charged him with a crime. No reporter has ever been prosecuted for seeking classified information.”
A quick Google search revealed no examples of Robert Reich quaking with righteous indignation, with little white flecks of spittle forming in the corners of his mouth over the Rosen outrage nor about this, again from the WaPo:
“The Obama administration has pursued more leak investigations under the 1917 Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined.”
Do I think it’s a good idea for Donald Trump to be Tweeting his every thought as soon as he sees something on TV? No. Of course not.
But, you’ve got to give the man credit. His Tweet-to-Response ratio is pretty impressive.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.