Well, Donald Trump had an eventful Saturday on Twitter.
Egregious Twitter rants are a Saturday tradition for the president, and more often than not, he can safely be ignored, although “safely” might not be the best choice of words when it comes to the most powerful man on the planet opining in all-caps to 54 million people about pressing issues of domestic and foreign policy.
This weekend, though, Trump’s digital shrieking was noteworthy for a handful of reasons, and it seems pretty clear that one or more of his Saturday broadsides will end up being a part of next week’s news cycle, so we’re going to go ahead and highlight some of these lowlife lowlights (get it?).
On Friday, just hours after the massacre in New Zealand during which 50 people lost their lives in their place of worship, Trump said this while deploying the first veto of his presidency:
People hate the word ‘invasion’ but that’s what it is. It’s an invasion of drugs and criminals and people we have no idea who they are.
While everyone knew Trump would likely trot out some of his trademark fearmongering and xenophobia in the course of overriding a bipartisan resolution blocking his border emergency, one might have hoped he’d avoid using the word “invasion” considering that characterization of immigration was invoked verbatim in the New Zealand killer’s 74-page manifesto.
But this is Trump we’re talking about, so “invasion” it is (or actually, invasion it most assuredly isn’t, which is why Trump had to use the veto).
Fast forward to Saturday and Trump tweeted out this absurd propaganda video:
To be clear, you can make anything look foreboding if you slap a night vision filter on it and set it to scary music. For instance, imagine if you took a video of the Walmart doors opening on Black Friday, applied that same filter to it and set it to the theme music from Halloween. And you know, the funny thing is, 1,000 people ready to kill each other over a bargain on a flatscreen is actually a much more dangerous scenario than a couple of hundred immigrants climbing over a small fence in the middle of nowhere.
After reinforcing racial stereotypes and cranking up the anti-immigrant agitprop (again, just a day after 50 people were massacred by a guy who quite literally cited immigrant “invasions”), Trump went ahead and smeared John McCain who can’t defend himself because, well, because he’s dead.
“Spreading the fake and totally discredited Dossier ‘is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain'”, Trump tweeted, apparently quoting Ken Starr.
And he wasn’t done. “[McCain] had far worse ‘stains’ than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace!”, the president shouted into the digital void.
Meghan McCain was not amused. “No one will ever love you the way they loved my father”, she shot back, adding the following:
I wish I had been given more Saturday’s with him. Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on twitter obsessing over mine?
Minutes later, Trump pivoted to attacking General Motors – again.
The president lost his mind with Mary Barra in November, when the company said it would be slashing thousands of jobs, shuttering plants and doing away with models that weren’t selling well. Barra pitched the momentous decision as an effort to ensure GM remains nimble in the face of shifting consumer preferences and she also tacitly suggested that the best is probably behind us in terms of the US economy.
Trump proceeded to threaten Mary – literally.
Here is what he told the Wall Street Journal about a conversation he purportedly had with Barra:
They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly. I love Ohio. I told them, ‘you’re playing around with the wrong person. I said, ‘I heard you’re closing your plant’. It’s not going to be closed for long, I hope, Mary, because if it is you have a problem.
A day later, he threatened to cut all subsidies to GM and a couple of weeks after that, he told Fox that Barra’s decision was “not acceptable” coming as it did “a couple of weeks before Christmas”. Here’s the clip:
Got that? Trump knows what’s “acceptable” and what’s “unacceptable” when it comes to disappointing workers and leaving folks in the lurch during holiday season. Which is why he knows it was totally “acceptable” to shut down the government a week before Christmas and to cost everybody about a gazillion dollars in paper wealth by talking the stock market into the worst December since The Great Depression, which is precisely what Trump did just days after that clip aired.
Relive the GM saga
On Saturday, Trump restarted this feud. “Because the economy is so good, General Motors must get their Lordstown, Ohio, plant open, maybe in a different form or with a new owner, FAST!”, he demanded, adding that “Toyota is investing 13.5 $Billion in US [and] GM MUST ACT.”
That raises the following question: Or what? What happens if they don’t “act”?
It sounds like we’re about to get more explicit threats out of Trump and he underscored that contention by claiming that when it comes to GM “acting”, “time is of the essence!”
Was Trump done? In a word: No. In two words: Absolutely not.
He segued into a fresh attack on Google, accusing the company of “helping China and their military”, something the president called “Terrible!” on the way to rekindling his feud with the tech giant as follows:
The good news is that they helped Crooked Hillary Clinton, and not Trump….and how did that turn out?
Well, sir, it “turned out” that you became president, which means America is subjected to entire Saturdays where the commander in chief spends hours insulting dead POW senators and ranting about Chevys.
Here’s some (maybe) context for Saturday’s tweet from Gizmodo:
The apparent context for this rambling missive appears to be a spat this week involving the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford, who during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing accused Google of refusing to aid the U.S. military while simultaneously providing an (unspecified) “direct benefit to the Chinese military.” Dunford did not elaborate on what, exactly, he was referring to, but the refusal to work with the U.S. almost certainly refers to Google’s decision to pull out of a gigantic drone AI imaging program for the Pentagon after numerous employees raised ethical concerns or even resigned.
Last August, Trump accused Google of “illegally rigging” search results against him only to be partially rebuked (at least as it relates to the notion that he should intervene to stop the “rigging”) by the author of the study he cited.
Relive Trump’s Google feud
Finally, for good measure, Trump lashed out at France again. This is customary on Yellow Vest weekends. Whenever the protests kick up, Trump takes the opportunity to suggest that climate change isn’t real. Here’s what he said on Saturday:
How is the Paris Environmental Accord working out for France? After 18 weeks of rioting by the Yellow Vest Protesters, I guess not so well! In the meantime, the United States has gone to the top of all lists on the Environment.
It wasn’t immediately clear what “lists” he was referring to.
Again, it’s tempting to write the president’s weekend Twitter diatribes off as the rantings of a dementia-ridden geriatric (and that’s pretty scary on its own considering the office he holds), but lashing out at public companies is always a bad idea, as is insulting John McCain at a time when Republican defections on Capitol Hill are becoming more commonplace (remember, it’s not just the border emergency – the Senate also rebuked him on Yemen this week).