At any given time, Donald Trump is ready to complain that he doesn't receive enough credit.
More accurately, Trump is always keeping track of who's stealing public attention from him. From Anthony Scaramucci claiming that Trump was "intimidated" by how "good-looking" Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is to Trump calling four Congresswomen who challenge his racist rhetoric "weak and insecure people," the president is apparently threatened by any high profile figure who is funny, articulate, informed, and not a douchebag. Among Trump's approximate 14,000 tweets in the last three years, many have been dedicated to feuding with celebrities and other politicians, from Justin Trudeau and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Cher and, most recently, Chrissy Teigen.
Over the weekend, Trump lashed out about not receiving enough praise for signing the First Step Act, widely regarded as the first piece of legislation for badly-needed prison reform. On Sunday, MSNBC aired a documentary special, Justice for All, about the mass incarceration problem in America—which maintains the dubious honor of having the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 655 per 100,000 people imprisoned. An avid advocate for criminal justice reform, musician John Legend appeared in the documentary, and like immigrants, universal health care as a human right, and weather science, that made Trump very, very mad.
After the special aired, he tweeted, "I SIGNED IT INTO LAW, no one else did, & Republicans deserve much credit. But now that it is passed, people that had virtually nothing to do with it are taking the praise."
To paint the full picture here, the First Step Act is unequivocally the most significant law in recent times to reduce unjustly long prison sentences and reduce federal sentences for some drug convictions. However, the law isn't groundbreaking by any means (especially compared to some states' prison reforms), and its benefits still exclude many inmates, including undocumented immigrants and those with previous criminal history. Ultimately, the law is expected to have a limited impact on incarceration rates. More significantly, Trump's proposed 2020 budget underfunds the act's programs to a concerning degree; and, as of August, prison reform activists are still concerned that "the Trump Administration [isn't] committed."
But none of that is the point to Trump. After all, he signed the damned document, didn't he?! He tweeted, "Guys like boring musician @johnlegend, and his filthy mouthed wife, are talking now about how great it is - but I didn't see them around when we needed help getting it passed." (By the way, the act received bipartisan support, with most notable opposition coming from members of Trump's own party). Trump's main concern is why he didn't get a shoutout in the network's special, while John Legend got to show his amazing, ageless face.
Legend responded with a patriotic call to action: "Imagine being president of a whole country and spending your Sunday night hate-watching MSNBC hoping somebody—ANYBODY—will praise you. Melania, please praise this man. He needs you," he tweeted. He repeated, "Your country needs you, Melania."
As for Chrissy Teigen, proud "filthy mouthed wife," long-time detractor of Trump, and Twitter queen in her own right, she responded with her characteristic candor: "The absolute best part of his tweet is I literally didn't speak in the special, nor was I mentioned. I'm cackling at the pointless addition of me because he cannot not be a bitch."
The former Sports Illustrated model has garnered over 11 million followers for her frank and hilarious reality checks about everything from unrealistic beauty standards, monthly periods, the daily trials of parenthood, and how much John Legend resembles Arthur the animated aardvark to matters of slightly larger import—like prison reform. Soon, #fithymouthedwife, #TeamChrissy, and #PresidentP*ssyAssBitch began trending on Twitter, along with Teigen's name.
Even all-American dirtbag Anthony Scaramucci, Trump's former communications director, weighed in on Trump's latest Twitter feud and neurotic need for attention: "Have any of the other presidents in recent history—modern history—gone after their private citizens whether they're celebrities or not celebrities?" Scaramucci told CNN. "(For) the last two and a half years this guy has acted like a bully, crazy person against his fellow citizens."
Excellent question, Mooch! Well, let's remember that a modern-day POTUS uses Twitter the same way his forebears used radio to broadcast addresses to the American public. For instance, from 1933-1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt embraced the broadcasting potential of radio (yes, we're diving deep enough to seriously compare Donald Trump to Franklin D. Roosevelt) "to come into your home and sit at your fireside for a little fireside chat," giving approximately 30 informal "Fireside Chats" (each between 13 and 44 minutes) while he pushed his New Deal policy and talked America through the outbreak of World War II.
What does Trump use his social media presence to do? What message does he spread to his more than 64 million followers? He's feuded with dozens of celebrities who, like Teigen, dare to criticize his policies or his tiny, tiny hands; and, when he has discussed policy, he's increased the volatility of the financial market. How? According to a very depressing analysis by J.P. Morgan, when Trump tweets about the Federal Reserve, U.S. interest rates respond. In particular, words like "China, "billion," and "products" are associated with negative stock market returns, so says Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
And, of course, he's getting worse, in both number of tweets and, apparently, sleepless mania. Since 2016, Trump has turned to Twitter not so much to spread policy but to act like a lonely junior high student who's subtweeting his/her entire school. If you take a look at his Twitter archive, and his usage has been increasing since he first took office in 2016. In 2018, Donald Trump posted more than 3,400 tweets, at an average of 10 tweets a day—easily the most social media engagement of any president thus far. (For context, as of January 2019, the total number of tweets Barack Obama posted was 15,573.)
But don't worry: When Trump's latest Twitter feud doesn't make it to the trending page, you can avoid his tweets by not logging on at 1:00 PM or 3:00 AM, at which times Trump tweets the most. What are you doing at lunch time, President Trump? Why aren't you sleeping at 3:00 AM? Take a break, Mr. President—for all our sake's.