From the Left



Less Twitter, more teleprompter, please, Mr. President

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

We all know Twitter Trump. He's the one who responded to a desperate plea from Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto of San Juan, Puerto Rico's largest city, after the island was hit by its worst hurricane in about a century by taking it personally.

"Save us from dying," she said on CNN, to which Trump responded with a blame-the-victim tweet Saturday. He accused her of "poor leadership ability" and blamed Democrats for telling her to bash Trump. In fact, she did not even mention Trump by name. But Twitter Trump takes these things personally.

Twitter Trump apparently surprised Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over the weekend with a tweet saying Tillerson was wasting his time trying to negotiate with "Little Rocket Man," Trump's nickname for North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un. "Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done."

Gee, thanks. As if we didn't have enough to worry about, Twitter Trump pokes his Twitter stick at an erratic nuclear power.

Fortunately, however, after Twitter Trump's initially awkward tweet of "warmest condolences" to the victims and families in Las Vegas, teleprompter Trump stepped up later in the day with a well-prepared statement.

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"In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one, and it always has," he said, reading from the text. "We call upon the bonds that unite us: our faith, our family and our shared values; we call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community and the comfort of our common humanity."

There was more, but you get the idea. The president can sound like a serious statesman when he wants to. In his campaign he ridiculed President Barack Obama and others who use teleprompters. But Trump should try it more often. Or, at least, he should learn to think before he tweets.


(E-mail Clarence Page at



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