August 11, 2017

If you woke up on Friday hoping that President Trump might be thinking about de-escalating the tensions with North Korea, it may be best to hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. In his latest provocative tweet, Trump borrowed from the language of the NRA to send Kim Jong Un a message.

Based on North Korea's recent history, it's unlikely that raising the stakes will get Kim to "find another path," unless that path is a face-saving off-ramp from this growing nuclear confrontation. On the other hand, it's nice to know that America's nuclear arsenal is still locked down. Peter Weber

July 25, 2017

President Trump was up early on Tuesday, and he took to Twitter to complain, again, about his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. This time, Trump suggested he was moved to pick up his smartphone by a segment on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, and he was evidently stewing about Hillary Clinton and what he said was Ukraine's attempts to help her in the 2016 election. "So where is the investigation A.G.," Trump tweeted. He sent another tweet nine minutes later:

Trump followed that up with some confusing allegations against acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. Trump has been increasingly critical of Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia, and he and his aides are reportedly considering either firing the attorney general or pressuring him to resign. Tuesday morning's tweetstorm could be read either way. Peter Weber

July 17, 2017
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The Senate Republican health-care bill is now short the necessary votes to pass, and on Monday night, President Trump used Twitter to direct the GOP on its next steps.

"Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now and work on a new health-care plan that will start from a clean slate," Trump said. He also predicted that if they do so, "Dems will join in!" Once Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) announced Monday night they were not going to vote for the bill as written, joining Rep. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the proposal became doomed. Catherine Garcia

July 4, 2017
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump responded to North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday by wondering in a series of tweets if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could find a hobby that doesn't involve developing weapons capable of mass destruction.

"Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?" Trump asked. "Hard to believe that South Korea…and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!" Earlier this year, when North Korea said it was coming close to launching an intercontinental ballistic missile, Trump tweeted, "It won't happen!" Catherine Garcia

June 30, 2017

On Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted out some gross comments about MSNBC's Morning Joe cohost Mika Brzezinski, apparently because she made fun of his framed fake Time magazine covers (not that he watches Morning Joe anymore!), and the tweets were not well-received, generally. In case you were offline all Thursday, or it was "beneath your dignity" to engage with the president's mean tweets, CNN has a quick summary.

Trump faced sometimes scathing reprimands from Republican lawmakers, TV commentators, and blue-checkmark Twitter for his tweets, but if he were in any other job, he would likely be sacked, workforce and social media experts tell The Associated Press. "Mr. Trump would be fired for his tweets of today, and nearly every day," Mike Driehorst, a social media expert at the marketing firm Weaving Influence, tells AP. "Most companies have a thin skin when it comes to public criticism and media reports." You can complain about work on Twitter, legally speaking, adds employment lawyer Nannina Angioni, but if "you take to Twitter to call your boss a 'psycho' or say that your CEO has a 'low I.Q.' that could absolutely get you fired."

The fact that Trump is the boss wouldn't necessarily protect him, either. "Any good outside crisis adviser would tell the company's board that they have no choice but to terminate the CEO," said Hofstra University public relations expert Kara Alaimo. "Today, more than ever before, citizens expect companies to espouse and uphold values." Every company has different policies about social media, AP notes, some more lenient than others, but federal agencies like the General Services Administration prohibit "engaging in vulgar or abusive language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms targeting individuals or groups." You can read some examples of people fired over their social media posts at AP.

People have also been kicked off Twitter for abusive tweets, but Twitter's harassment rules "leave plenty of grey area," CNN reports. "We don't comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons," a Twitter spokesperson told CNN when it asked how close Trump's tweets get him to violating the company's rules. "I'm sure the Twitter team loathes how the product is being used by Trump," a former Twitter executive tells CNN, adding, "If they suspend his account, they'll have to do this consistently with other harassment accounts, which is impossible." Peter Weber

June 13, 2017
Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

With little fanfare, first lady Melania Trump moved into the White House on Sunday along with her and President Trump's 11-year-old son, Barron. The president has reportedly spoken with his wife frequently during her five-month absence from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and some Trump friends suggest that having the first lady in the White House will steady the Trump presidential ship. "She is the president's never-ending barometer of reality, and she delivers candor and honesty blended with selfless love for him and his family in equal doses," said Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a close friend of the Trumps. "She is the immovable rudder to an ever-changing sea."

But Trump supporters and White House aides who view in Melania Trump "a ray of hope as the person who will finally be the one to tame the untamable president," especially when it comes to early-morning, potentially self-destructive tweeting, should hold their breath, says Maggie Haberman at The New York Times. "Those expectations are unrealistic, unfairly raise expectations, and are unlikely to be met, people close to Mrs. Trump point out."

"President Trump has been steadfast in making his own decisions about social media, overruling advice from aides," notes Krissah Thompson at The Washington Post. Thompson points to an interview Melania Trump gave to the luxury magazine Du Jour last year, in which she said he gives "a lot of advice to my husband and tell him how it is and how I see it." Trump's kids from his previous two marriages would call her after a speech, she added. "They know I would talk to him and put him in the right direction. Sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn't. He will decide what he does." Haberman recalled Melania Trump's comment to CNN's Anderson Cooper not long after her husband's Access Hollywood video surfaced: "Sometimes I say I have two teenage boys at home — my young son and my husband." Peter Weber

June 6, 2017

"Some people with a propensity for self-destructive behavior can't seem to help themselves, President Trump apparently among them," The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote in Tuesday's newspaper. They were referring, with more toughness than love, to Trump's "cycle of Twitter outbursts and pointless personal feuding" over the weekend and into Monday, starting with his response to the London Bridge terrorist attack, in which, the editors said, Trump managed "to convert the mass murder into a referendum on his favorite subject, Donald J. Trump."

Specifically, Trump made himself "look small" by assailing London Mayor Sadiq Kahn, the WSJ editorial board said, and "in a humiliating coup de grace, the mayor's office put out a statement saying he 'has more important things to do than respond' to Mr. Trump's social-media insults. The U.S. commander in chief also has better uses of his time than making himself look foolish." But Trump's "more consequential eruption" was against his own Justice Department, tweeting out comments about his "travel ban" that are "reckless on multiple levels," the editorialists continued:

If Mr. Trump's action is legal on the merits, he seems to be angry that his lawyers are trying to vindicate the rule of law. Attorney General Jeff Sessions would be justified if he resigned, and this is merely the latest incident in which Mr. Trump popping off undermined his own lawyers. ... Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has also suggested that the temporary visa shutdown is not an "immigration ban." If this pattern continues, Mr. Trump may find himself running an administration with no one but his family and the Breitbart staff. [The Wall Street Journal]

The editorial notes that Trump appears to tweet in response to what he views on cable news, and it ends by tallying the tweetstorms as "further evidence that the most effective opponent of the Trump presidency is Donald J. Trump." You can read the entire argument at The Wall Street Journal. Though if the Journal really wants Trump to curtail his self-destructive tweeting, its editors might have a conversation with the folks over at sister company Fox News, as CNN details in the report below. Peter Weber

June 1, 2017

While President Trump was still in Europe, the White House floated the idea that all of his tweets would be vetted by lawyers before being sent out into the Twitterverse, and maybe they were encouraged by his lack of tweeting while abroad. When he came back to the White House, however, the id-tweeting started back up immediately, and despite growing pleas from his legal team, the idea of prescreening Trump's tweets has obviously not covfefe yet. Despite orders from his lawyers and begging from his aides, Trump has made clear "that he fully intends to stick to his favorite means of communication," The New York Times reports. Nevertheless, they persist:

Mr. Trump's aides, especially his White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, have long implored the president to cut down on his tweeting, especially about the Russia investigations. But Mr. McGahn is not perceived as a peer by Mr. Trump, unlike [outside lawyer Marc E.] Kasowitz, whom the president respects for building a successful business. White House aides hope that Mr. Kasowitz, who has advised Mr. Trump for years, can get through to the president — and that if Mr. Kasowitz leads a vigorous public defense, the president may not feel the need to do it himself. ...

The best way to keep Mr. Trump off Twitter, advisers said, is to keep him busy. During his foreign trip, he was occupied 12 to 15 hours a day, seldom left alone to fulminate over the Russian investigation, and given less unstructured time to watch television — although he did tune in to CNN International and fumed privately that it was even more hostile to him than the domestic network. It helped, aides said, that Melania Trump, a sometimes moderating force who has largely remained in New York since the inauguration, accompanied him on the trip. [The New York Times]

During the presidential campaign, Trump's tweeting was a political liability at times, but now it's a legal problem. You can read more about Trump's 140-character self-imposed legal jeopardy at The New York Times. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads