Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) used his first speech as Senate Minority Leader to attack President-elect Donald Trump’s use of Twitter — repeating a theme that Democrats and the media used often during the 2016 presidential campaign, to no real effect.
Schumer’s speech, which was hailed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer for its toughness, laid out an opposition agenda that included holding Trump accountable for promises to change Washington. And Schumer warned Trump that Twitter would not suffice:
So, Mr. President, the issues facing this country are many. We have a lot of work to do — creating jobs, raising incomes, making college and health care affordable, rebuilding our infrastructure, making trade laws work for the American worker, keeping Americans safe from threats of violence and terrorism, taking care of our vets. Now, each one takes serious thought and action. These issues are too important for mere words, our challenges too entrenched for mere tweeting. 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 needs to get things done. Many Americans are afraid, Mr. President-elect, that instead of rolling up your sleeves and forging serious policies, for you, Twitter suffices. There’s nothing wrong with using Twitter to speak to the American people. It’s a good use of modern media. But these issues are complex and demand both careful consideration and action. We cannot tweet them away.
Later, Schumer added: “America doesn’t conduct foreign policy by Tweet.”
However, the Obama administration frequently has used Twitter to conduct foreign policy. For example, under Obama, the State Department used a Twitter account, “Think Again Turn Away,” to counter propaganda from the so-called Islamic State.
The Obama administration also used Twitter hashtag campaigns, such as “#UnitedforUkraine” and “#BringBackOurGirls,” to confront various foreign policy crises.
— John Kirby (@statedeptspox) March 26, 2014
— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) May 7, 2014
Few Democrats criticized such uses of social media, or indeed President Barack Obama’s other social media forays, such as interviews with YouTube stars and adventures with a selfie stick in the White House.
In a further irony, Schumer Tweeted to promote his speech.
…he tweeted. https://t.co/aZGQpHeWfe
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) January 3, 2017
Update: Schumer’s criticism came the same day that Trump used Twitter to push back against, and reverse, a House Republican decision to change the rules governing the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.