If the press would cover me accurately & honorably, I would have far less reason to "tweet." Sadly, I don't know if that will ever happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2016
About a year ago, 18-year-old college student Lauren Batchelder stood up at a political forum in New Hampshire and told Donald Trump that she didn’t think he was “a friend to women.”Chuck Jones, President of United Steelworkers Local 1999, was barely off of CNN before death threats starting coming to him because of Trump's tweets about his statements there.
The next morning, Trump fired back on Twitter — calling Batchelder an “arrogant young woman” and accusing her of being a “plant” from a rival campaign. Her phone began ringing with callers leaving threatening messages that were often sexual in nature. Her Facebook and email inboxes filled with similar messages. As her addresses circulated on social media and her photo flashed on the news, she fled home to hide.
“I didn’t really know what anyone was going to do,” said Batchelder, now 19, who has never discussed her experience with a reporter until now. “He was only going to tweet about it and that was it, but I didn’t really know what his supporters were going to do, and that to me was the scariest part.”
This is what happens when Trump targets a private citizen who publicly challenges him.
Mary sings in her Magnificat, a song both sung and read regularly during Advent, that God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. This is as fine an example of that as I've ever seen. But that doesn't make it any less dangerous, or damaging. Trump, by the way, sees nothing wrong with this. He thinks having a Twitter account is: “like owning the New York Times without the losses.” Well, without any losses to him; and that's all that matters.
With one tweet last week, Trump inflamed a conflict with China. With another tweet on Tuesday, Trump caused Boeing stock to plummet. With a third on Wednesday night, Trump prompted a series of threatening calls to the home of a union leader who had called him a liar.
We have given a child a loaded shotgun, and it's going to be a long time before we figure out how to take it away from him. And a lot of damage is going to be done before we do.
Adding: now it turns out that phone call from Taiwan wasn't a spur of the moment decision:
Last week’s telephone call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan’s president was the result of six months of behind-the-scenes work by former Sen. Bob Dole acting on behalf of the Taiwanese government, according to federal filings and published reports.
The call was a breach of diplomatic protocol, and Trump advisers have made conflicting statements about whether it signaled a new policy toward China. Taiwan split from China in 1949, but China still considers the island part of its territory and would consider it unacceptable for the U.S. to recognize Taiwan’s leader as a head of state.
So: Trump is a dupe of his advisors, because he has no clue what is going on and listens to the last person who spoke to him; or he's a Machivaellian statesman of the highest order.
Only one of these conclusions seems likely; neither is comforting.