President Donald Trump didn’t tweet until almost 11 a.m. Monday morning, raising questions about whether he’s backing off his favored communication method to directly reach the American people.
Since being sworn into office, the president of the United States has not stopped sending out 140-character missives from his Twitter account to his 25 million followers. That is, until Monday morning, when the prolific tweeter waited until almost 11 a.m. to send a message about meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It was the first time since Jan. 20 that he didn’t tweet before 8:15 a.m. on a work day.
“This is just another signal,” said Professor Jennifer Grygiel, who studies social media at Syracuse University. “Social media managers can easily build a schedule to make sure there are constant posts. So the lack of a tweet is a signal.”
Trump’s use of twitter has been one of the most intriguing and, at times, controversial parts of his administration. Trump usually fires out a series of tweets early each morning setting a tone for the day’s events. He has used twitter for spats with Mexico and warned North Korea about its use of nuclear technology. He’s railed against the media. This weekend, he got into a Twitter spat with NBA Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban. But he was noticeably quiet Monday morning.
Experts like Grygiel have been wondering when the prolific tweeter was going to change up his pattern enough that people noticed.
Trump may be a bit tired from the social media fights, Grygiel said. He might also be exerting his power not to talk with anyone. It’s not like as president of the United States that there is not something that he can tweet about.
“Maybe a best case scenario is a he’s going to take a route on social media that is more presidential,” Grygiel said.
Trump has indicated that he might pull back from his use of the tool. He told 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl that he will be “restrained” with the use of social media as president.
“I’m going to be very restrained, if I use it at all, I’m going to be very restrained,” Trump said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that will air Sunday night.
Every president has tried to use the latest technology to get around the mass media as a means to speak directly with the American people. President Barack Obama also used social media to bypass traditional reporters by producing high quality videos and photos on various platforms.
It’s important not to make too much of a few hours of no tweeting on one morning, according to Martha Kumar, a Towson University political scientist who studies presidential communications and is director of the White House Transition Project. It’s a busy day with the Canadian prime minister visiting, she noted.
Aside from Monday morning, Trump’s shown little interest in backing off his favorite means of communication.
“Twitter has staying power with him,” Kumar said.