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

Mari Mirasol, Opinions Editor

During the Cold War, the world stood paralyzed at the thought of one press of a button destroying life as they knew it.  Of course, it is nowhere near the severity of launching a nuclear weapon, but the power that the President of the United States (POTUS) has with his Twitter handle is very similar.  It is this ease with which President Donald Trump has the ability to wreak havoc on our country.  With just a few taps on his keyboard, Donald Trump can send out as many uncensored messages as he desires.  The world is his audience, and the consequences have the ability to carry the weight of a missile.

Social media has become a powerful platform for politicians to let their citizens know what they stand for and allows for transparency in government affairs.  It is a positive innovation that should be welcomed by all countries, especially democracies like the U.S..  The problem with Trump’s use of Twitter comes in his constant tweets and unfiltered content.  He is different from other politicians in his rhetoric: relying on exclamation points, seemingly forgetting to unlock his caps-lock, ignoring all conventions of punctuation, and using technology to rant about current topics he disagrees with.  Twitter is a fast way to reach the public, but many of his tweets have made him a subject of ridicule.

“I am always surprised by his tweets because I am used to the idea of presidents who write long responses as opposed to multiple short tweets. It kind of seems obvious to me that his tweets should me monitored because of how big an audience he has,” said senior Saige Gitlin.

Although the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, the Supreme Court has stated that if that form of expression puts others in danger, then this right should be limited.  A frequent topic of criticism relating to Trump’s tweets are his public attacks of foreign leaders, namely North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.  North Korea has a number missiles in their possession, so Kim Jong-un is probably the wrong person to target.  When Trump tweets about North Korea, the consequences could put civilians in danger.  Since his tweets are not regulated by the administration, the content could be extremely harmful.  On Sep. 23, President Trump used Twitter as a means of communication to tell North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho that he “won’t be around much longer” and referred to Kim Jong-un as “Little Rocket Man.”  Following this interaction, Kim said that he would “surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”  A leader with nuclear missiles should not be provoked, but if Trump’s Twitter remains uncontrolled, it is possible that we  mayactually return to those Cold War days.

“I’m terrified of the effects that Trump can have. He could be angering North Korea, which could have detrimental effects. His tweets must be kept under controlled,” said senior Tali Crowley.

Politicians are supposed to present themselves in a respectable light and remain professional for the public.  However, the President’s tweets vary in content, and are typically presented in hectic rants rife with capital letters and exclamation points.  According to an archives of Trump Tweets, Trump has posted 234 tweets with “loser,” 222 with“dumb” or “dumby,” 183 with “stupid,” and 117 with “dope” or “dopey.”  This kind of rhetoric is not as common among respectable politicians.  It would be beneficial for the Republican party to monitor Trump’s tweets if they wanted to avoid future criticism.

Another issue with unlimited, unmonitored tweets is the spread of “fake news.”  While ironic, Trump has in fact spread inaccurate facts that, coming from the POTUS, could spread quickly and have multiple negative consequences on society.  When people hear information from the president, they are more likely to believe it.  This is dangerous since recent tweets have led to the spread of many inaccurate beliefs.  For example, Trump has sent out 106 tweets that imply global warming is not real, 84 that say Obama is a foreigner, and 31 that say autism is caused by vaccines.  These topics are highly controversial in America despite having been proven to be incorrect.  Regardless, Trump does not hesitate to tweet the contrary.  Another topic that Trump attacks is the news media.  There have been 164 tweets against “fake news” since he has been president.  This increases hostility and distrust of the news, which could be avoided if his tweets were controlled.

President Donald Trump has the power to reach billions of people, but he chooses to use it to attack people.  Recently, Trump retweeted many anti-Muslim videos that were published by a United Kingdom activist from the right-wing group Britain First.  The videos were titled: “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches,” “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death,” and “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary.”  These were videos that portray Muslims in a negative light, and his actions were completely uncalled for. British Prime Minister Theresa May has denounced his actions on multiple occasions and strongly warns against promoting groups like Britain First. Trump’s  Twitter is meant to be used to give information about the administration such as posts on updates about their progress.  Instead, Trump uses it to attack others.

“I hate hearing about new Trump tweets, and realizing they target a group of people. No one should be treated this way, and it is much worse that it comes from the president. He is encouraging this kind of behavior,” said junior Emma Klein.