“He is very capable of doing a switcheroo really quick, which can be a good thing or it can not be.” This was former Senate Majority Leader and Mississippi Senator Trent Lott talking about president-elect Donald Trump.
Switcheroos, as Lott calls them, are becoming a hallmark of Trump’s transition to the presidency. He says one thing one day, then changes it the next. His team says one thing, then he says another.
In its story quoting Lott, Politico.com found itself unable to decide if the “mixed messages and shifting realities of Trump world” are a “byproduct of Trump’s unconventional approach to communications or a more systemic dysfunction.”
The online news source said, “Trump allies and Republicans eager to work with him and capitalize on the remarkable governing opportunity he has delivered them have themselves been stymied from time to time by the president-elect’s mixed messages and consistent inconsistencies. They, too, aren’t sure about which Trump tweets or conversations to take literally — or even seriously.”
Lott is one of those.
“A lot of our allies are very nervous about whether they can count on us,” he said.
Lott told Politico that Trump’s incessant tweets unnerve him.
“The tweets unnerve me. I see how you can use that to go around and over the traditional media and how many people get his tweets. But it unnerves me because I’m kind of old school.”
One thing Trump is not is old school. He is unconventional, intends to remain unconventional, and will do unconventional things as President to deliberately “unnerve” his opposition of the moment and keep them off balance.
“President-elect Donald Trump won’t end the onslaught of posts on Twitter that fed his unconventional campaign, even after taking on the formalized duties of the Oval Office later this month,” says a story on Bloomberg.com.
“You know what?” said incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer. “The fact of the matter is that when he tweets, he gets results.”
Spicer said Trump’s use of Twitter plus Facebook and Instagram will “absolutely” continue.
Of course, this is another switcheroo. On CBS’s “60 Minutes” in November he said he was rethinking his use of social media. “I’m going to be very restrained, if I use it at all, I’m going to be very restrained,” he said.
Unconventional and unrestrained, such a President will unnerve millions more than Trent Lott.
His tweet in December that, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability,” prompted fear across the globe of a new nuclear arms race.
His tweets to General Motors and Toyota threatening punitive taxes if they locate manufacturing in Mexico have unsettled global corporate leaders.
But perhaps the most unnerving aspect of all was Spicer’s admission that no-one knows what Trump is going to tweet until after it hits. “He drives the train on this,” Spicer told the Wall Street Journal.
Sorry Trent. Old school is out. Switcheroo is in. The Donald is going to keep us all on the edge of our seats.
» Bill Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (firstname.lastname@example.org)