After only two days into the 115th U.S. Congress, democrats are focusing their concerns toward incoming president Donald Trump and his prolific use of the social media platform Twitter.
In the weeks since being named as the victor of the 2016 elections, the president-elect has taken criticism for his use of social media to address national and global policy issues. Many on the left have called his reliance on the platform un-presidential and have voiced concerns that it leaves room for his messages to be misinterpreted at home and abroad.
The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016
During the first day of the 2017 Congressional session, democratic leadership used opening remarks to address the president-to-be’s use of the platform. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, who also serves as Senate minority leader, called for more thoughtful tweets, and cooperation between the majority and minority parties in both houses.
After a lengthy speech about the need for the Democrats and Republicans to work together to tackle tough issues like creating jobs, raising incomes and rebuilding national infrastructure, Schumer wrapped up with pointed comments about Trump’s tweets during his remarks to colleagues Tuesday, Jan. 3.
“Making America great again requires more than 140 characters per issue. With all due respect, America cannot afford a Twitter presidency. We have real challenges and we have real need to get things done, and many Americans are afraid, Mr. President-Elect, that instead of rolling up your sleeves and forging serious policies, for you Twitter suffices,” he said in his remarks.
Schumer did say that there’s nothing wrong with using Twitter to speak to the American people. "It’s a good use of modern media," he said. "But these issues are complex and demand both careful consideration and action. We cannot tweet them away."
Just the next day, Jan. 4, former presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who also serves as the ranking Budget Committee member, used tweets to rail against the Trump’s plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The senator used a series of tweets from the president-elect’s pre-election feed to illustrate the his shifting position away from protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs during the ACA debate. During the campaign, Trump seemed to take a supportive stance of the programs, vowing to protect them from Republicans, a position which has since shifted in the post-election landscape.