No surprise: Trump didn't give up old Twitter habits for the new year

Noah Bierman and Brian Bennett, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump clearly didn't resolve to change his Twitter habits this year.

With nine disparate tweets over three hours on Tuesday morning, the first working day of 2018, Trump continued to exploit social media to be the most aggressive commentator in chief in American history. For any other president, his posts would have made for a monumental day of (mis-)statements. Yet for Trump, the series -- attacks on political foes and media, provocations of foreign leaders and self-praise for events he had nothing to do with -- was all but unremarkable.

His Twitter barrage -- sent between 7:09 a.m. and 10:16 a.m. -- reflected a familiar gamut after nearly a year in office:

Attacks on political foes: Nearly 14 months after his election, Trump called for the jailing of Huma Abedin, "Crooked Hillary Clinton's top aid" (his misspelling, another occasional feature of Trump tweets). In the same tweet, he disparaged the "Deep State Justice Dept," headed of course by his appointees, calling on it to "act" against James B. Comey, the FBI director he fired for investigating "the Russia thing."

Diplomatic provocations: Trump again called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "Rocket man," ridiculed the volatile nuclear-armed foe for recent military defections and openly speculated about potential talks between North and South Korea.

"Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not -- we will see!" Trump wrote.

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(Later on Tuesday, Trump tweeted an attack on Pakistan, his second in as many days, and added a new one against Palestinians.)

Undermining media: Trump offered "Congratulations!" to A.G. Sulzberger, who took over as publisher of The New York Times this week. But the two-part post was really yet another slam against a perceived media foe: Trump said the paper had a "last chance" to fulfill its journalistic mission, and accused it of relying on phony sources and substandard reporters -- just days after he granted another exclusive interview to the paper. As a bonus, the tweet contained a recycled falsehood, that the paper apologized after the election for reporting on him unfairly. It didn't.

Taking credit: Trump congratulated himself for policing the border with Mexico, an area where his policies and anti-immigration rhetoric are believed to have had some effect on reducing illegal crossings. He took credit for employee bonuses by companies after he signed Republican tax cuts into law last month

But the jaw-dropper was Trump congratulating himself for planes not crashing.


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