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Paper Tigers
March 21, 2019

"Two years ago, some of America's largest corporations were tearing up their business plans to accommodate President Trump, fearful that he could send their shareholders and customers fleeing with a tweet," The New York Times notes. "Now they have a new strategy: Ignore him."

Right before he took office, for example, Trump hectored Carrier into (at least temporarily) keeping 1,000 jobs in Indiana it had planned to outsource. Companies hired public relations firms to monitor Trump's Twitter feed and come up with strategies should he shoot a poison tweet their way. This week he told General Motors to reopen a plant in Lordstown, Ohio, and GM shrugged and issued a statement that talked about negotiating with the United Auto Workers and didn't mention Trump.

"In the beginning, his tweets would actually hurt stock prices and companies were going into tailspins," Eric Dezenhall, an expert in corporate damage control, told the Times. "There is a clinical difference between what was happening in the beginning and what is happening now." That difference? "Tantrum congestion," he said. In fact, PR firms are urging restraint for the clients because any response could agitate Trump.

Essentially, the Times reports, "the president's scattershot attention span has diminished his power to persuade the business world to bend to his will, corporate communications experts say, as once fearsome tweet storms have devolved into ephemeral annoyances." Trump can still move markets with a tweet about trade with China or the Federal Reserve, for now, the Times adds, but despite "Trump's vast media presence and his popularity among Republicans, he has not demonstrated the ability to do lasting damage to a corporate brand that crosses him." You can read more about Trump's diminishing Twitter returns at The New York Times. Peter Weber

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