Back in December, Donald Trump announced his plan to pull troops out of Syria. A group of White House lawmakers did their best to talk him out of the idea. The lawmakers made it clear that pulling troops could be a great threat to national security.
Trump’s response to their argument was to have Dan Scavino, the man who oversees his Twitter account called in.
“Get Dan Scavino in here,” Trump called out in the middle of the meeting.
According to Politico, Scavino arrived a short time later and Trump said to him, “Tell them how popular my policy is.”
Scavino then proceeded walk lawmakers through the positive reaction Trump had received on Twitter about his decision on Syria.
With very few allies left in the White House, Trump frequently now leans on his social media guru for affirmation and advice even about the most sensitive of policies.
Trump acknowledges that Scavino plays a major role in shaping the tweets that he fires off each day.
“Oftentimes, I’ll go through Dan,” Trump said. “You know, I’ll talk it over. And he can really be a very good sounding board. A lot of common sense. He’s got a good grasp.”
Trump “has this interest in data, but it’s Trumpian data, which means it’s a little bit of cotton candy and it’s not grounded in reality,” said Trump biographer Tim O’Brien. “Politicians have been using polls for decades to gauge policies, but Twitter followers have nothing at all to do with whether his Syria policy is popular.”
Aides say Trump regularly complains about losing followers in what he suspects is politically motivated censorship by conservatives, but in reality, is caused byTwitter’s recent crackdown on spam accounts.
Trump confronted Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey about the matter during a White House meeting last month. Seated beside Dorsey was, of course, Dan Scavino.
Trump is not a novice to social media. He joined Twitter in 2009, as the @realDonaldTrump with a following that has grown from 3 million to over 60 million supporters. By the time Trump was celebrating one year in office he had sent out nearly 2,600 tweets meaning he tweeted an average of 7 times a day.
Trump has used Twitter to insult people, threaten countries and now to make policies and important decisions that affect our daily lives and safety.
Trump’s exhaustive “twitter moments” have become daily barrages of personal messages on the president’s potentially unsecured mobile device. His constant online social media presence has become his personal megaphone to amplify his personal grievances and now to help him decide how to run our country.
It’s worth noting, however, that the tweets on his account almost certainly aren’t all his; social media manager Dan Scavino is responsible for some of the posts. Some observers have noted several times the different details and styles of his tweets and the misspelling of words that appear to give away when Trump is 100% responsible for his tweets.
“Trump’s storms of online impulsivity combined with his actions to censor public agencies not only call into question the administration’s temperament toward opponents but also its tolerance for the actors and agendas of those who broadly constitute civil society,” Vox reports.
Twitter isn’t anywhere near a representative of real-life American voters. Back in April, a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that the feedback Trump is getting on Twitter comes from a limited pool. That same Pew survey also found that just 10 percent of users create 80 percent of tweets.
Someone should remind Trump that his online legacy will never go away and that his tweets will be auto-archived under the Presidential Records Act. In the future, there will be no denying the lies he told online.
Thankfully, Trump changed his mind about pulling troops from Syria, but the thought of what he may do in the future based on his follower’s reactions to his tweets is beyond frightening.