President Trump’s long, lonely, Columbus Day weekend

A bit of a slog.
A bit of a slog.
Image: Reuters/Mike Theiler
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US president Donald Trump is increasingly frustrated and lashing out, surrounded by aides who struggle to contain his impulsive behavior with a combination of distraction and stalling techniques that make him seem more like a toddler than one of the world’s most powerful men, according to multiple advisors in Washington, DC.

The long Columbus Day weekend, though, provided a new glimpse of what Trump finds important when left to his own devices. Trump visited his Virginia golf course for three days in a row, went to a fundraiser in North Carolina, and played golf with senator Lindsey Graham, but was left by himself long enough to fire off multiple tweetstorms from his personal “RealDonaldTrump” account.

While Trump’s outrageous tweets have become so commonplace that they are shrugged off by many American citizens and foreign leaders, Columbus Day weekend was notable for the breadth of Trump’s tweeting, and its sheer self-destructiveness.

Among other things, Trump threatened war with North Korea; praised the Dallas Cowboys owner who threatened to bench his players for political protest; and complained about not getting equal time on television. (This morning Trump criticized an ESPN anchor, and called for the NFL to pay higher taxes if they don’t stifle protests by athletes.)

And of course, Trump accused US senator Bob Corker of begging him for an endorsement, which Corker denies. Corker is an integral vote in passing Trump’s tax reforms and other measures through the Senate, and the head of the foreign relations committee, which approves US decisions to go to war. The committee has been exploring ways to limit Trump’s power to launch nuclear weapons.

It’s also worth noting what Trump did not tweet about over the weekend. He did not mention the wildfires burning through Northern California that killed 11 and left 100 missing, the four soldiers killed by the Islamic State in Niger last week, or the police officer killed on a Texas campus.

Meanwhile the official presidential Twitter account was underutilized over the long weekend, and mostly amplified messages from vice-president Mike Pence. Since Trump took office the @POTUS account has morphed into what seems to be an afterthought run by an indifferent staffer, rather than the melange of inspirational personal messages, policy updates, holiday greetings, and rebukes of other politicians that it was under his predecessor.

Perhaps Trump’s penchant for numbers probably has something to do with this—the official presidential account has about 20 million followers, compared to the 40 million for Trump’s personal one.