Many seem to be “up-in-the-air” about President Donald Trump’s tweets. They say it is not the way a president should communicate with the American people. He counters by saying it is the way a “modern” American president should communicate with his people.
President Trump’s tweets do not bother me. Yes, I am concerned that he seems to wax vitriolic from time to time and that people in the line of fire tend to get burned with no opportunity to respond. What is of major concern to me is that the president has had only one press conference in his first 6 months in office. By this time President Barack Obama had six press conferences and President Bill Clinton nine.
President Trump’s tweets may show us what is on his mind but they do not provide a positive news outlet for his policies and plans. Without questions from representatives of the press he cannot know what is of concern to his constituents. Tweets without press conferences are not a positive innovation of this presidency. Presidents need to communicate with the people. With or without tweets, holding press conferences would be an improvement.
We can assume that presidential tweets are an indication of what is of concern to our new president. Since his inauguration President Trump has put 224 tweets into the airwaves. The primary thing on his mind is what he calls fake news. He has focused on the news media for 68, or 27 percent of his tweets. By contrast, the wall, which was a major campaign emphasis has been the focus only 4 percent of the time. Veterans, which were a major part of campaign rhetoric have been the subject of only 4 percent as well. By contrast, President Obama or Obamacare have been mentioned 20 percent of the time. By extraction our president is preoccupied with the news media and former President Obama and Obamacare more than several other key issues that were a part of his campaign.
Beyond the lack of press conferences, my major concern relates to the president’s lack of up-to-date knowledge about key issues. In recent statements he said, “We have to make ourselves energy independent,” and “We have to get several million people off of welfare and back to work.” Both are statements the majority of Americans could agree with. Both, however, would have been accurate and appropriate 20 years ago during President Bill Clinton’s administration but not today.
From a factual perspective, we are already energy independent. With the technological advances made in shale oil and natural gas production we are now exporting more than 1 million gallons of oil a week. We have more oil and natural gas than we need. This brings into question issues such as the mid-western pipeline and drilling for oil off the Atlantic Coast.
“Get millions of people off of welfare and back to work?” Twenty years ago we had more than 4 million adults on welfare. New regulations plus low (4.6 percent) unemployment have reduced the number of adult welfare recipients to 680,000. It would be good to get all of these back into the job market. However, when the number is less than 1 million you can’t put millions back to work.
Add one other issue to the mix. In public speeches our president has talked about creating millions of jobs by renewing our infrastructure; roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, etc. If we limit immigration and send many low-wage earning immigrants home, with our record low unemployment numbers, who will do the work on the infrastructure projects?
The primary concern I am raising has to do with the base knowledge on important issues the president brought with him to the presidency. There is evidence that he has knowledge and information that is guiding his policies and decision making that is based on “facts” that are 20 years old. That, more than tweets, is worth worrying about.
— Dr. Mark L. Hopkins writes for More Content Now and the Anderson Independent-Mail in South Carolina. He is past president of colleges and universities in four states. Books by Hopkins currently available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble include “Journey to Gettysburg” and “The Wounds of War,” both Civil War-era novels, and “The World As It Was When Jesus Came.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.