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06 Jan 2017 00:00
Tweetaholic: Donald Trump (left) has 18.3-million followers on Twitter and has tweeted more than 34 000 times. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
United States president-elect Donald Trump won’t end the onslaught of posts on Twitter that fed his unconventional campaign, even after taking on the formalised duties of the Oval Office later this month.
Making news and issuing statements on social media sites that also include Facebook and Instagram will “absolutely” continue, despite earlier promises by Trump to cut back, incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer told television network ABC.
“You know what? The fact of the matter is that when he tweets, he gets results,” Spicer said.
In recent tweets alone, Trump has hinted he’d like to change decades of policy on nuclear weapons; praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin even after accusations by intelligence agencies that Russia attempted to tamper with US elections; and said the United Nations is a “club for people to get together, talk and have a good time”.
Days after his victory on November 8 last year, Trump said in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes that he was rethinking his use of social media, which had been a potent weapon during more than a year on the campaign trail. “I’m going to be very restrained, if I use it at all, I’m going to be very restrained,” Trump said.
Since then, during the countdown to inauguration day on January 20, he’s shown little sign that he intends to follow that pledge.
On December 28, the incoming president tweeted that he was trying to disregard statements by President Barack Obama that he considered “inflammatory.”
“Thought it was going to be a smooth transition — NOT!” Trump said in the post.
After Putin said on December 30 that he wouldn’t respond in kind to an Obama administration order expelling 35 Russian diplomats in response to that government’s hacking of Democratic Party officials, Trump tweeted: “Great move on delay (by V Putin) — I always knew he was very smart!”
A day after praising Putin, Trump raised eyebrows by wishing a “Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies.”
New Year’s Day brought a more conciliatory greeting “to all Americans” that cast ahead to “a wonderful & prosperous 2017 as we work together”.
Spicer was asked about Trump’s Twitter statement on December 22 that the US “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capacity until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes”.
“You know, with all due respect, I think it freaks the mainstream media out that he has this following of over 45-plus-million people that follow him on social media, that he can have a direct conversation,” he said.
“He doesn’t have to have it funnelled through the media.”
Trump currently has 18.3-million followers on Twitter, 16.8-million on Facebook and 4.5-million on Instagram.
He has tweeted more than 34 000 times since joining the social media platform in 2009.
“Trump has his own way of communicating with America,” Chris Collins, a New York Republican who was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump, said on Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures. — Bloomberg
The Donald will like this . . .
World temperatures are likely to dip in 2017 from a sizzling record high in 2016.
This is after human-made global warming was slightly boosted by a natural El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean, scientists said.
But it is still likely to be one of the warmest years since records began.
The year-on-year decline will coincide with the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency. He has famously dismissed as a hoax the idea that global warming is caused by human activity.
“Next year is not likely to be a record but it will still be a very warm year,” Professor Adam Scaife, of the British Met Office, said of a report based on new computer data.
Scaife said it would be wrong for anyone who doubts that climate change is caused by humans to interpret the expected 2017 dip — prompted by the end of El Niño — which released heat from the Pacific Ocean, as a sign of an end to the long-term trend of global warming.
The Met Office projected that 2017 was likely to be the third warmest year since records began in the mid-19th century, behind 2016 and 2015. — Reuters
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