Subscribe

Government by 'Tweedict'

The United States is supposed to be a government of laws, not of edicts. Yet Trump’s tweets are gaining power even though they aren’t legislation, argues public policy expert Robert Reich.

  • close
    In this Dec. 28, 2016 photo, President-elect Donald Trump listens to a question as he speaks to reporters at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla.
    AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Trump’s tweets are a new form of governing by edict. They’re tweedicts.

Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer says “Whatever he tweets, he is going to drive the news.”

That’s the problem. In driving the news, Trump’s tweedicts gain the power of  implied threats – that he’ll, for example, sanction a particular company (Ford, General Motors, Carrier, or Boeing); unilaterally alter foreign policy (recognize Taiwan, encourage Israel to expand on the West Bank, not back NATO against Russian aggression); unleash his angry followers on a particular critic  (a local union leader in Michigan, a teenage girl in New Hampshire, a TV news host); cause customers or readers to boycott a media outlet (CNN, the Arizona Republican, Saturday Night Live, the cast of Hamilton); or impose high political costs on Republican members of Congress (for pursuing an investigation against Russia, gutting an ethics office).

Recommended: How 17 famous tech companies got their names

 They aren’t executive orders (which can be reviewed and overturned by courts). They aren’t even the statements of a president using his “bully pulpit” to make a general point, because they single out particular companies and people. 

They are arbitrary and capricious, reflecting the daily whims of Donald Trump. 

And he’s not even president yet. 

The media argue that the thoughts of a president-elect are “inherently newsworthy.” Rubbish. They’re newsworthy only because they drive the news. And they drive the news only because they’re considered by the media to be newsworthy.

That tautology can turn into a vicious cycle leading to tyranny.                                                                                                          

The media should pay less attention what Trump is tweeting and more attention to what Trump is actually doing. 

This story originally appeared on Robertreich.org.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. This post originally ran on www.robertreich.org.

 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...