By Robert Pembroke
I am not a fan of Donald Trump and I did not vote for him. I voted for my best friend by writing in his name for president. Trump is boisterous, overbearing, annoying and has funny-looking hair. But Trump, for all his faults, is a master at manipulating the press.
I am a hard-news nerd. I love reading the news, watching the news on television and, over the years, I have noticed that public officials have a hard time getting their points across to their constituents.
This is not true of Donald Trump. With his tweets, he instantly communicates with 40 million-plus citizens. The press jumps all over these tweets and then that’s the news for the next 24 hours. That’s just what Trump wants the press to do.
Take a little time and notice how Trump manipulates the media. If he is in trouble over his trade policy, he will tweet about the senatorial election in Alabama. If Mueller indicts a member of his campaign staff, he will tweet that he has a bigger red button than Kim Jong Un. This has gone on since he announced that he was running for president in 2015.
Recently, Trump announced that his administration will argue in front of the Supreme Court that nothing prevents Ohio from cancelling the voter registration of citizens who don’t conform to the state’s eligibility laws by not voting for two years. The Obama administration had been arguing just the opposite. The same day that Trump announced this position he tweeted 10 times that he was going to sue Michael Wolff and Steve Bannon over their new books — and all I heard or read that day was about the books.
The press has been talking about Trump’s possible mental instability for a long time. Congress has held committee hearings and heard about Trump’s mental capacity from all sorts of different types of people. Is Trump mentally unstable? I have no idea, but what I do know, this is not a subject of Trump’s tweets.
I was surprised when Trump won the election but I am more surprised by what has happened since then. Trump and his Republican Congress were able to get things done. There is a systemic change that is going on. The all-powerful government is being shrunk. Just like a surgeon with a scalpel, Trump is shrinking our federal government’s overreach.
But Trump’s tweets are also a dangerous distortion. Forbes published an article called “Donald Trump’s Most Offensive Tweets” — and some of them are startling. Take for instance the one he tweeted about Charles Krauthammer. “The hatred that clown @krauthammer has for me is unbelievable — caused him to lie when many others say Trump won the debate.”
I have often said to my wife and to anybody else that will listen that Krauthammer would have made a great president. Not only was he highly intelligent, deferential and when somebody said something that he thought was right, he would pass it on and give that person credit.
Another Trump tweet that irked me was, “Huma Abedin, the top aide to Hillary Clinton and the wife of Anthony Weiner, was a major security risk as a collector of info.”
Is Trump obsessed with discrediting Obama? Again, I do not know because it just might be a Trump tactic to gain notoriety. But there is one Obama policy that Trump should discredit, and that is Obama’s position on the Arab Spring.
Iranians are protesting in the streets to get themselves and their families a better life. Obama mishandled the Arab Spring and did not support the Egyptians. If Trump would just start tweeting about how the United States will support the protesting Iranians, it just might prevent World War III.
Robert Pembroke is the former chairman and CEO of Pembroke’s Inc. in Salt Lake City.