“You go from a common citizen to the most powerful person on the planet. And that is not a joke”
From the final stages of the presidential campaign, we know for a fact that someone, somewhere, had the ability to stop Donald Trump from tweeting – if only for a few days at a time. Now that he’s actually going to be president, does that person still wield that power?
Because if so, a lot of people would find it marginally easier to relax. And more than a few are in the media. In a striking reminder of how much we’ve changed since the days of three TV channels reading you the news in prime time, Dan Rather took to Facebook to cry out for someone to moderate Trump’s Twitter use.
“Could someone who has Donald Trump's ear please take away his phone and tell him that he now has a very big job to do that requires paying attention to reality? There are no training wheels for being president,” he lamented. “You go from a common citizen to the most powerful person on the planet. And that is not a joke.”
And in an unsettling reminder of just how powerful the presidency has become since times of yore, Rather pulled a Thomas Hobbes, pinning his argument on the idea that the chief of state is akin to a mortal God. "’He's got the whole world in his hands’ is an old spiritual that has become a favorite of camping trips and sing-a-longs about the power of the Almighty,” Rather recalled. “But when it comes to the affairs of humankind and the planet, you could make the case that you could almost say the same thing about the powers of the president of the United States.”
Yet there might be a method to Trump’s trolling. Newt Gingrich told Fox News the president-elect “understands the value of tension. He understands the value of showmanship. And candidly, the news media is going to chase the rabbit. So it’s better off for him to give them a rabbit than for them to go find their own rabbit. He’s had them fixated on Mitt Romney now for five or six days. I think from his perspective, that’s terrific. It gives everyone something to talk about.”