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Trump Still Using Twitter to Speak Out on China, Other Issues


FILE - This combination of two photos shows U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaking during a "USA Thank You" tour event in Cincinatti, Dec. 1, 2016, and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, delivering a speech during National Day celebrations in Taipei.


U.S. President-elect Donald Trump says he would not be tweeting as much if he got fairer news coverage.

But he wrote on Twitter, Monday, that he did not know if “that will ever happen.”

Trump has been busy on Twitter in recent days. Among other subjects, he wrote about his telephone call with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen. Their discussion broke diplomatic norms.

For more than 30 years, U.S. presidents have avoided direct contact with Taiwan’s leaders in support of the government’s one-China policy.

Last week, Trump said on Twitter that he plans to stop the Obama administration’s move to normalize relations with Cuba, unless Cuba gives the United States “a better deal.”

​His comments came after the death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

It was not the first time Trump and his advisers said a Trump administration might end President Barack Obama’s two-year efforts to improve ties with Cuba.

But it was the first time the next U.S. leader announced a major foreign policy decision on social media. Twitter has been Trump's chosen social media network to express his opinions -- both as a presidential candidate and, more recently as he forms his administration.

Trump will be sworn-in as president on January 20, 2017.

Trump Still a Twitter Regular

Also last week, Trump expressed on Twitter his position about a move to recount ballots from the U.S. presidential election. Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein asked for the vote recount in three states.

Trump, a businessman, was the Republican Party’s candidate. He said on Twitter that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote because of millions of illegal votes. Clinton was the candidate of the Democratic Party. She now leads the popular vote by 2.5 million ballots.

In his tweets, Trump said there was "serious voter fraud" in Virginia, New Hampshire and California -- all states won by Hillary Clinton. He also attacked the cable news network, CNN.

State election officials, both Republican and Democratic, have rejected Trump's claim.

Trump won enough states to enjoy a large lead in America’s Electoral College. Members of the Electoral College are set to meet on December 19 to officially elect the next president. All signs point to Trump winning, even with the vote recounts.

Trump's supporters say they enjoy reading his comments on Twitter. At his campaign events, people praised Trump for “telling it like it is.”

Trump Says Tough Talk Leads to Better Negotiating

Trump has defended his strong language. Taking strong positions, he said, is part of his negotiating style to get better deals.

But some diplomats say his strong words on Twitter and elsewhere could lead to misunderstandings, or worse.

Aaron David Miller was a Middle East negotiator for three different U.S. administrations, Democratic and Republican. He is now a vice-president at the Wilson Center, a research-policy center based in Washington, D.C.

“We’ve never really confronted a potential like this before -- certainly not in the administrations I’ve worked for,” Miller said.

Kellyanne Conway directed Trump’s presidential campaign. She told CNN television on Sunday that no decision has been made on how much Trump will tweet once he is president.

Conway told CNN that Trump believes Twitter and Facebook provide him with a good way to talk directly to people. She said his tweets and Facebook posts reach 25 million people or more.

But it can be hard to express positions on major issues in the 140 characters permitted by Twitter. Kathleen Hall Jamieson is a communications expert at the University of Pennsylvania. She said that discussing important policy issues on Twitter increases the risk that the president elect’s message might not be understood.

Tweets by U.S. Leaders Not New

Twitter is not an altogether new way of communicating for presidents.

Barack Obama was the first U.S. president to take office in the age of social media. He has used Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

But Obama’s Twitter account, like that of many world leaders, is operated by his top aides. The president himself only rarely issues personal statements on Twitter.

I’m Ashley Thompson.

William Gallo reported on this story for VOANews.com. Bruce Alpert adapted his story and did additional reporting for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

What do you think of President-elect Trump's use of Twitter and social media? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section and share your views on our Facebook Page.

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Words in This Story

norms - n. standards of proper or acceptable behavior

network - n. a group of organizations that provide similar services

style - n. a particular way in which something is done, created, or performed

confront - v. to challenge someone in a direct and forceful way

potential - n. a chance or possibility that something will happen

certainly - adv. without doubt

post - n. to make information or opinions known to people

characters - n. the number of letters and spaces

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