BY STATE SENATOR JAMES SANDERS, JR.
Last week, Trump was in hot water again for his insensitivity and for behavior unbecoming a president. Fortunately, this time it didn’t have to do with national security, foreign policy or healthcare.
The Commander-in-Chief re-tweeted an animated gif, which edited together footage of him hitting a golf ball with video of Hillary Clinton tripping and falling while getting on a plane in 2011, so it looked as though the golf ball had struck the former first lady in the back and knocked her down.
This is not just a matter of a bad joke and poor taste. It says something about our president – that he has the maturity of a high schooler, and even scarier, that he doesn’t have a filter between his immediate thoughts and actions. Many leaders, including former Vice President Joe Biden, condemned the gif, which imagines Trump assaulting his political rival. Biden responded by tweeting: “Just had the chance to see President Trump’s golf swing tweet. Enough. This has to stop. Our children are watching.”
While Trump didn’t create the video himself, the person who did – the one who he re-tweeted – uses the handle @Fuctupmind, and if that weren’t enough of a bright red flag, the same user also often uses Twitter to post disparaging remarks about transgender people and those of the Jewish faith.
What happens when President Trump’s social media misfires tick off the wrong leader – like Kim Jung Un of North Korea, for example? Do we want to risk starting a war over a tweet?
Later the same Sunday morning as the Hillary golf ball tweet, Trump took to the site to talk about a late-night phone call he had the day before with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, in which they discussed North Korea’s nuclear capabilities and the imposition of tough sanctions. This serious conversation, however, was reduced to a rather juvenile tweet in which he referred to the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man.”
Trump wrote: “I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!”
Speaking in a more serious tone at the UN this week, Trump called nuclear-armed North Korea a “band of criminals,” and added that if given no other choice, the U.S. would destroy North Korea. That is a far cry from the careless and mocking tone of the Twitter message he had given the world just hours before – one that was directed at a country that could potentially aim to wipe the U.S. from the planet.
Given his adolescent behavior on social media and a host of other bad behavior, it really comes as no surprise that Trump’s approval rate is sinking. Some 43 percent of likely voters approve of the president’s job performance, while 55 percent disapprove, according to the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
I think if Trump is going to act like a teenager, we should treat him like one, and take his Twitter privileges away. No other time in America’s post internet history has a president used a social media platform with the potential to cause such irreparable damage. Let’s shut it down.
I, myself, use social media including Twitter and I would never speak in a Trump-like mocking manner on any of these sites, or be disparaging to women or my political opponents by suggesting that it is correct or funny to physically harm them such as by striking them with a golf ball. President Trump is setting a terrible example for our young men and to our youth in general. I certainly hope that no one here in southeast Queens or anywhere else for that matter follows his example.