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Why Some Worry About Trump’s Tweets


President Donald Trump pauses during a ceremony in Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, for the swearing in ceremony of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By early Friday morning, President Donald Trump was back on Twitter. He tweeted about U.S. relations with Iran and Australia, “radical Islamic terrorist” and “Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger.”

Just the day before, the president had already tweeted that “Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile.” And he questioned if government financial aid should stop for a California university where protestors prevented a Breibart News editor from speaking.

Trump, entering his third week as president, is tweeting often – just as he did during his successful campaign for president.

Why some are concerned about his tweets

His frequent postings on Twitter are raising questions. Some want the White House to keep all of Trump’s tweets as part of the official administration records to be turned over after he leaves office. Others worry his Twitter account can be “hacked,” while some question if his tweets will make it difficult for him to govern.

Shontavia Johnson is director of the Intellectual Property Law Center at Drake University Law School in Iowa.

Johnson said some might ask “what’s the big deal” saving Trump’s tweets for presidential records. But she said it is important the White House keep all tweets so National Archives and Records Administration experts can organize them for study by historians after Trump’s presidency ends.

Concern about hacking

Chris Dore is a Chicago lawyer who works on privacy and technology issues. Dore said he worries people will hack into Trump’s Twitter account and post fake material.

“Twitter accounts get hacked all the time,” Dore said. If people got a hold of Trump’s Twitter account, they could pass on false information about a business, or create an international crisis, so they could gain financially, he said.

Already tweets from the @realDonaldTrump have affected the price of stocks. The Wall Street Journal reported that, after Trump criticized companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Ford, General Motors and Toyota, their stock prices dropped.

Trump aide says president wants to connect with people

Kellyanne Conway is a Trump adviser. She said Trump continues to tweet because it is “a very powerful way for him to communicate and connect directly with people.”

But Trump’s tweets have not always helped him. On Tuesday, Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer talked about the president's order temporarily blocking travel to the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim nations. Spicer said news reports were wrong to call it a travel ban. Reporters noted that Trump himself had called it a ban just the day before on Twitter.

Using Twitter to hit back at critics

As he did as a presidential candidate, Trump uses Twitter to hit back at people and organizations he believes have been unfairly critical. He accused Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of showing “fake tears” to criticize Trump's travel restrictions. And he continues to attack news organizations, saying they are dishonest and providing "fake news."

Theodore Glasser is a professor of communications at Stanford University in California. During a recent talk on Trump’s relations with the news media, he complained that Trump is not always truthful in his tweets and statements.

“There is no commitment to ‘facts’ or ‘truth,” he said. Glasser said Trump has done “more damage to the quality of public discourse than any president I can remember.”

Carole Bell is a communications expert at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. She said Trump supporters enjoy reading tweets directly from Trump on how he feels about issues and his critics. It gives him “authenticity,” she said.

But Bell said Trump is bringing that same “informality” to more formal settings. She cited speeches at the National Prayer Breakfast and for Black History Month that drew questions whether he was taking the events seriously enough.

John Wihbey, another Northeastern University communications expert, said tweeting helped Trump win over voters during the election. But Wihbey said tweeting his opinions in 140 characters or less as president might not be helpful as he tries to govern and negotiate health and tax bills, or new international trade deals.

I'm Bruce Alpert. And I'm Anne Ball.

Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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

formally adv. made or done in an official and usually public way

ballistic missile n. a weapon that is shot through the sky over a great distance and then falls to the ground and explodes

editor n. a person whose job is to prepare (something written) to be published or used: an editor can make changes, correct mistakes, etc., in (something written)

frequent adj.​ happening often

account n.​ an arrangement in which a person uses the Internet or e-mail services of a particular company​

hack v. to secretly get access to the files on a computer or network in order to get information or cause damage

fake adj. not real

stock n. share of the value of a company which can be bought, sold, or traded as an investment

complain v.​ to say (something that expresses dislike or unhappiness)​

commitment n. a promise to do or give something

discourse n.​ a long talk or piece of writing about a subject​

authenticity adj. real or genuine

cite v. to mention (something) especially as an example or to support an idea or opinion​

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