(CNN)If President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed is the most direct window into his brain, he is spending more time focused on cable news, the various Russia investigations and Hillary Clinton than the health care bill that Senate Republicans are trying to revive.
Some press critics, armchair and otherwise, have long suggested that journalists band together, ignore @realDonaldTrump
‘s morning chatter and devote their attention to more pressing matters. The argument implicitly demeans the medium. These are, after all, just tweets
But it is on Twitter that the President tells us what he really cares about — and a lot about what he doesn’t
. His personality and, more importantly, his priorities are on ready, constant display. On Thursday morning, as Republicans in Washington raced to resurrect legislation to overhaul Obamacare, Trump was tweeting — and not about health care.
“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came…,” he began, finishing his thought six minutes later, “to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
If the content of the attack on Mika Brzezinski, co-host of the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” was unsurprising, the timing was instructive. Rather than using his platform to make the case for what is, right now, a deeply divisive and unpopular bill, Trump was fixated on criticism from a pair of morning show hosts.
A rough analysis from Jake Tapper, on CNN’s “The Lead,” found that Trump has tweeted more about the press, usually in the form of an attack or complaint, than jobs or, separately, the military — both cornerstones, in theory, of his political agenda.
The messages are also legally relevant. Courts reviewing Trump’s travel ban have repeatedly cited his public pronouncements as factors in their decision-making. Former FBI Director James Comey said Trump’s tweet suggesting there were “tapes”
of their conversations convinced him to leak contemporaneous memos
. The bot account that frames the tweets as official statements — a phrase White House press secretary Sean Spicer used to describe them — drives the point home.
Put simply, Trump’s tweets are important. They should not be dismissed as standard practice. Now and in the coming weeks — with the future of health care in America in the balance — they invite an especially discerning eye. The President, whose promised signature would gut Obamacare, is hardly discussing it.
Instead, as legislators weigh their votes and thousands of Americans across the country rally against the bill, Trump has mostly dedicated his social media messaging to more personal, familiar gripes.
His only tweet on Sunday, with a Senate vote then believed to be just days away, was this: “Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!”
(Sanders, by chance, spent his weekend on a three-city road trip — hitting Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia — dedicated to defending Obamacare
. At no point during the 24-hour swing did Trump, so eager to put pen to paper on the legislation, tweet to support it.)
On Monday, with the Congressional Budget Office only hours away from releasing its assessment of the Senate bill, Trump began the morning by attacking Democrats, saying they “have become nothing but OBSTRUCTIONISTS, they have no policies or ideas. All they do is delay and complain. They own ObamaCare!”
Whether one agrees with this assessment or not, he seemed to be spoiling for a fight, or at least directing his followers’ attention to the health care debate.
But before he returned to the issue at a little after 9 a.m. and again in the early afternoon — once more attacking Obamacare, not pushing the GOP bill — Trump unleashed a four-tweet storm on his predecessor’s decision to remain mostly quiet, at the time, on the scope of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign — a reference to a report
in The Washington Post last week.
“The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win … ,” the first tweet
began, uncorking a stream that ended emphatically nearly a half hour later
with the demand, “I should be given apology!”
That seems an unlikely proposition, but it’s hardly the point. Does Trump know that? Is he purposefully seeking to take the spotlight off Senate Republicans? Maybe.
They have their work cut out for them. Plans to vote on the bill this week were scrapped on Tuesday. Late pushes to reshape a more palatable bill have, so far, run up against opposition from opposite ends of the Senate GOP conference. For more on those issues and what the bill actually does, spend some time on stories like this one, from CNNMoney’s Tami Luhby. She explains here, “Who gets hurt and who gets helped by the Senate health care bill.”
Go ahead, watch:
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/26/politics/trump-tweets-distraction-health-care/index.html