Counterpoint: Limiting power: should the president’s tweets be regulated?

Sarah Gottesman, Staff Writer

President Donald Trump has drawn much criticism over his unconventional use of Twitter as a platform for voicing his opinions.  In his 140-character posts, he has repeatedly attacked individuals, political opponents, religions, organizations, and the media. In the past few months, he has even targeted world leaders.

“I have found many of Trump’s tweets to be offensive.  The president should not be using Twitter to attack citizens and especially not to provoke and belittle foreign leaders,” said senior Idell Rutman.

President Trump’s controversial tweets have raised questions as to whether or not a President’s tweets should be regulated.  While his use of Twitter has proven to be outrageous in many instances, regulating his tweets would defy the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.  We shouldn’t lower our standards of democracy even in these troubling times.  In fact, Trump’s presidency is testing our democracy, and we must remain resilient and preserve our values in the face of these challenges.

President Trump has posted many infuriating tweets that have resulted in a public outcry and perhaps an understandable impulse to want to silence him.  Despite the fact that the United States has reached a crisis point in our dealings with North Korea in light of the country’s development of nuclear weapons, President Trump has deliberately provoked the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, in his tweets.  He childishly referred to Mr. Kim as “little rocket man.”

“It is simply unpresidential to use name calling when referring to a foreign leader and this will not solve anything.  It will only provoke Kim Jong Un,” said senior Emily Kraus.

President Trump’s name-calling extends to members of our own government as well.  He has also referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas in response to her claims of Native American heritage.

“This language demeans a historically mistreated group of people and encourages stereotypes,” said Kraus.

President Trump also recently retweeted several inflammatory anti-Muslim videos which were widely condemned.  These videos were unverified and misleading.  In fact, the tweet inspired a rebuke from the Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

“I was very angered when I saw that Trump retweeted the anti-Muslim videos.  I found it outrageous that our president was targeting a religion and spreading hate,” said senior Brianna Alvarez.

President Trump has also put out tweets that are sexist and demeaning to women.  For example, last week he referred to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as a “lightweight” who would came to his office “begging for campaign contributions and would “do anything for them.”  This tweet is sexually suggestive and reinforces negative stereotypes towards women.

“Although at times I wish there would be a way to stop Trump from using Twitter as a way to target others, I must remember the importance of upholding our democratic values, especially during this tumultuous time,” said senior Saige Gitlin.

While many can agree that President Trump’s posts are offensive, harmful and embarrassing to the dignity of the office, this does not warrant restricting freedom of speech and lowering our democratic standards.  The rights guaranteed by our Constitution must also apply to our President.

“Although the president’s words have more power than an average citizen, he should still be granted the same right to freedom of speech,” said senior Julia Kim.

Posting via Twitter is just another mode of communication that is protected in our country.  It is the same as the right to speak in any other forum, like at a rally, at a press conference, or in writing.  President Trump’s tweets must be protected to the same extent that we would protect the right of anyone else to speak or tweet.  We must find other ways to respond to Trump’s offensive use of Twitter.  Instead of silencing Trump, we can combat his hateful speech with protests and practicing our own right to free speech.