Trump’s Presidential Diary

Twitter

Check out Michael Kruse’s piece at Politico on Donald Trump’s tweets as a primary source for future historians.

Here is a taste:

The people, though, who want Trump to keep tweeting are the people who rely on his words to do their jobs—reporters, biographers, political scientists and strategists, and presidential historians. They often are appalled by the content of the tweets, just plain weary like everybody else of the volume and pace of the eruptions and deeply worried about their consequences as well—but still, they say, the more Trump tweets, the better.

Trump’s Twitter timeline is the realest real-time expression of what he thinks, and how he thinks. From his brain to his phone to the world, the “unfiltered” stream of 140-character blurts makes up the written record with which Trump is most identified. “I think Twitter,” one White House official told POLITICO, “is his diary.”

It is, presidential historian Robert Dallek told me, “a kind of presidential diary.”

“A kind of live diary,” Princeton University political scientist Julian Zelizer said.

“His version of a diary,” said Douglas Brinkley, editor of The Reagan Diaries.

Many modern presidents have kept a diary of some sort—that no member of the public sees until long after the author has left the Oval Office. The White House didn’t respond to four requests for comment on whether Trump is following suit, but people who know him well say it’s all but impossible to imagine him sitting down with a pen and paper in a quiet moment. “Absolutely zero chance,” one of them said. In the presumed absence, then, of a more traditional version of the form, Trump’s collected tweets comprise the closest thing to a diary this presidency will produce. And that is what makes the messages from @realDonaldTrump, almost 800 and counting since January 20, 2017, such a prize to those who care the most about lasting insight into the president and this administration. If @realDonaldTrump was to go dark, and Trump stopped tweeting to his more than 32 million followers, humans and bots alike, the loss from a historical standpoint would be acute. What else would there be to memorialize the breathtaking bluntness of the 45th president of the United States? But can the nation weather the daily injury of Trump’s epistolary eye-pokes?

Read the rest here.

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