Donald Trump, Internet troll

Donald Trump has always had some Internet troll in him. He loves to provoke. He often traffics in h...

Posted: Nov 29, 2018 9:39 AM
Updated: Nov 29, 2018 9:39 AM

Donald Trump has always had some Internet troll in him. He loves to provoke. He often traffics in half-truths (or less). He's a big fan of memes.

But of late -- and with regard to Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation in particular -- the President is embracing his inner troll. Consider how Trump spent his Wednesday morning.

Bullying

Companies

Continents and regions

Cyberbullying

Donald Trump

Eastern Europe

Europe

Government and public administration

Internet and WWW

Investigations

Political Figures - US

Politics

Russia

Russia meddling investigation

Social media

Societal issues

Society

Technology

Twitter

Violence in society

First, he retweeted this from the Twitter handle "@The_Trump_Train," which bills itself this way: "Welcome to the #TrumpTrain, the greatest political movement in history. Proud American. RT'd by @realDonaldTrump *Fan account*"

The image features a series of people behind prison bars -- including special counsel Mueller, former President Barack Obama and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein -- with the words, "Now that Russian collusion is a proven lie, when do the trials for treason begin?" written across the picture.

Then, Trump retweeted another tweet from the same account that read: "Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month. RT if you agree: If you weren't born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance." (Fact check: Not true!)

Then, Trump retweeted a set of month-old tweets from conservative commentators -- Dan Bongino and Charlie Kirk -- featuring Hillary Clinton cracking a joke after Recode's Kara Swisher mixed up Eric Holder and Cory Booker. "I know they all look alike," Clinton joked of the two African-American men.

The common thread on all of this Trump Twitter activity? Conservative troll work. All of these notions -- that the Mueller probe is illegal and the people involved in its formation should be jailed, the false claim about the sort of government aid an undocumented immigrant is eligible to receive, the implied media toleration of racism by Democratic politicians -- have been kicking around the fever swamps of the conservative Internet right for a while now.

Trump has done this before. In December 2017, he retweeted an image showing the "CNN" logo squashed on his shoe. A few months earlier, Trump drew national headlines by retweeting an image of a "Trump train" running over a person who had the CNN logo for a head. There are other examples but, well, you get the idea.

"I love Twitter.... it's like owning your own newspaper--- without the losses," Trump tweeted in 2012.

"Tweeting is like a typewriter — when I put it out, you put it immediately on your show," Trump told Fox Business Network in 2017. "I doubt I would be here if weren't for social media, to be honest with you." He added: "When somebody, says something about me, I am able to go bing, bing, bing and I take care of it. The other way, I would never be get the word out."

So why does Trump use his immense social media power to tweet out fringe right memes and other ephemera from the dark depths of the Internet? Because, well, that's who he is. He believes himself to be the victim of an unnamed group of elites who have laughed at him behind their hands for his entire life, who have turned the wheels of power against him and who have tried like hell to make him not matter.

The presidency and his Twitter account -- and, yes, I think he believes them to be of somewhat equal importance -- allow Trump to both level the playing field and make his enemies feel the sting of his wrath. That his whole vanquishing-your-enemies thing is not presidential or not the sort of behavior any of us would teach our children is of no concern to Trump. He does it because it makes him feel good and, because, he believes it works.

In the wake of a firestorm caused by Trump's attacks on MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski for allegedly "bleeding badly from a face-lift" last summer, the President defended himself -- via Twitter -- by arguing:

"The FAKE & FRAUDULENT NEWS MEDIA is working hard to convince Republicans and others I should not use social media - but remember, I won the 2016 election with interviews, speeches and social media. I had to beat #FakeNews, and did. We will continue to WIN!"

He added: "My use of social media is not Presidential - it's MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!"

Which, honestly, says it all. Donald Trump is a president who acts like an Internet troll. He finds nuggets, shapes them to his liking and then shares them. Facts, context and fairness are secondary concerns -- if they are concerns at all.

The big difference between Trump and your average Internet troll? He has 56 million followers. Which makes what he is doing very, very dangerous.

Terre Haute
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 25°
Robinson
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 27°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 22°
Paris
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 23°
Mattoon/Charleston
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 27°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 25°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 25°
Warmer Thursday
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1076532

Reported Deaths: 20153
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4358889065
DuPage692851153
Will58408870
Lake53439886
Kane46063677
Winnebago26295407
Madison24398463
St. Clair22343426
McHenry21712248
Champaign15485102
Peoria15054241
Sangamon14548235
McLean13244159
Tazewell11944245
Rock Island11919303
Kankakee11488179
Kendall971578
LaSalle9478247
Macon8836179
Vermilion7538113
DeKalb749192
Adams7371117
Williamson6196116
Boone554977
Whiteside5261173
Clinton503285
Coles470380
Ogle460371
Knox4589142
Grundy438754
Effingham431169
Jackson418767
Henry401476
Marion3994112
Macoupin384994
Franklin384769
Randolph371568
Livingston364766
Monroe358770
Stephenson353274
Jefferson3435104
Morgan325989
Woodford320266
Logan309456
Montgomery305342
Lee304872
Bureau300484
Christian298673
Fayette291153
Perry267060
Iroquois259756
Fulton256949
Jersey222556
Lawrence217630
McDonough215051
Saline203053
Douglas199533
Union199332
Shelby197035
Crawford176134
Cass175131
Bond173824
Warren158644
Pike154346
Richland153644
Wayne152043
Hancock148634
Jo Daviess148524
Clark147730
Washington145225
Edgar144353
Carroll142633
Ford139049
Moultrie137428
White133430
Clay131240
Greene125742
Johnson121115
Wabash117914
Piatt117416
Mercer117229
Mason116640
De Witt114727
Cumberland108527
Jasper104015
Massac101831
Menard88010
Hamilton71717
Marshall67013
Schuyler62416
Pulaski6133
Brown61011
Stark49320
Edwards4629
Henderson45316
Calhoun4404
Alexander3897
Gallatin3884
Scott3851
Putnam3462
Hardin3038
Pope2472
Unassigned1050
Out of IL320

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 595436

Reported Deaths: 9466
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion822851311
Lake44626670
Allen32165543
Hamilton28684308
St. Joseph26917378
Elkhart24173343
Vanderburgh18856236
Tippecanoe17638125
Johnson14687289
Porter14513163
Hendricks14010242
Madison10715216
Vigo10540177
Clark10349135
Monroe9189108
Delaware8956134
LaPorte8867158
Howard7982140
Kosciusko791380
Warrick652994
Hancock646999
Bartholomew631096
Floyd6205107
Wayne5984159
Grant5874110
Dubois547175
Boone538867
Morgan524192
Henry497764
Marshall495384
Cass475362
Dearborn464545
Noble463157
Jackson417846
Shelby405680
Lawrence383876
Clinton367840
Gibson360058
DeKalb339163
Montgomery338152
Harrison333643
Knox329839
Miami312743
Steuben309343
Adams297435
Whitley297225
Wabash294947
Ripley294345
Putnam288047
Jasper285234
Huntington284959
White269138
Daviess263073
Jefferson253838
Decatur243482
Fayette242948
Greene237062
Posey234427
Wells231347
LaGrange225061
Clay219032
Scott218538
Randolph209845
Jennings193935
Sullivan189632
Spencer184319
Fountain180527
Washington179321
Starke172743
Jay163922
Fulton161130
Owen161137
Carroll153915
Orange152933
Rush151618
Perry149327
Vermillion145833
Franklin144433
Tipton129232
Parke12918
Pike114326
Blackford109222
Pulaski95337
Newton89821
Brown85931
Benton85310
Crawford7719
Martin70713
Warren6637
Switzerland6235
Union6146
Ohio4727
Unassigned0374