“When you look at all his responses to tweets ... you almost sit back and laugh.”
Sure, Donald Trump talks a big game on Twitter, calling out his “enemies” and critics with the abandon of a sugar-addled child on a rampage, but when he’s on the receiving end of an indictment, he’s quick to pull out any evasive maneuver at his disposal.
Fortunately for the president, Twitter makes it very easy to ignore any statement a user chooses to. As we’ve recently witnessed, the circumstances differ in regards to the president, so what would otherwise be a routine social media act might actually be an infringement of First Amendment rights, but that’s something that activists and the White House will no doubt sort through in the near future.
Regardless of the implications, Trump has demonstrated a willingness to block Twitter users who even hint at dissension or criticism. Included in that group aren’t just leftist radicals or profane dissidents, but also social media users lobbing innocuous jokes that are directed to @realDonaldTrump.
For instance, this user’s dad-joke tweet was apparently just too much for the administration to bear:
@realDonaldTrump I heard #covfefe is a new flavor from Ben & Jerry's. But it's mostly just nuts! #ParisAgreement #ParisAccord— Rob Szczerba (@Rob Szczerba) 1496365522
The whole “covfefe” sensation was ultimately owned with humor by the Trump administration, so one would presume that an offhand remark that the president is “nuts”—the kind of observation that political satirists have trafficked in for centuries—is the type of thing Trump would like nothing more than to silence.
Speaking to CNN, the author of the tweet, Rob Szczerba, speaking to CNN, "When you look at all his responses to tweets ... you almost sit back and laugh."
The dramatic response to an innocuous joke is easy to laugh at, but the motivation behind the act is more troubling and far less humorous.
Trump’s Twitter habits have been scrutinized to death, but his trigger-happiness when it comes to blocking users offers a clear look at the ideal media landscape Trump seeks to maintain. Critics—no matter how innocent or valid—are silenced, never to bother him again with their indignities.
Time and again, as his username states, we see the “real” Donald Trump on Twitter. It’s a place where he maintains the most control over his message and, by blocking users, its reception. For most of us, Twitter is just a sliver of our media presence, but the blocking feature offers him an avenue that in the real world would be treated as nothing short of unconstitutional.
Of course, that doesn’t stop many from wearing it as a badge of honor:
The last line of my resume (written in early January, obviously) #BlockedByTrump https://t.co/1K768wQpFg— Megan Ackerman (@Megan Ackerman) 1496873456