Unethical Presidential Tweet Of The Month

Ugh.

Hip hop artist Snoop Dogg is desperate for some publicity, I guess, so why not troll President Trump?  He’s issued a music video of the song  “Lavender,” in which a Trump-imitating actor in clown makeup is sort of assassinated by the singer. This is art. It poses no threat to the President. Tasteless? Ugly? Provocative? You decide. Whatever you decide, however, the President’s tweet is factually wrong. Ken White explains at Faultlines:

This is all nonsense…First Amendment analysis isn’t mathematics, but it’s not philosophy, either. The rules, and how they have generally been applied, are knowable. The rules for whether a statement can be taken as a criminal threat against the President have been clear for 47 years, since Vernon Watts talked about putting LBJ in the sights of a hypothetical rifle. The rules governing claims of “incitement” are even clearer. Unless Snoop Dogg’s video was intended to produce, and likely to produce, imminent lawless action, or was intended as and objectively understandable as a sincere expression of intent to do Trump harm, it’s not criminal. Period. This is not a close or ambiguous call.

Correct. Now, as regular readers here know, I have an abundance of tolerance for the President’s tweeting. It’s not dignified, and it undermines his authority and dignity, and it embarrasses the government and degrades the office. Most of the tweets, however, are just stupid.

This one, however, misstates the law, and, as White points out, the President is sworn to protect the laws of the United States. You don’t protect them by misrepresenting them, or by miseducating citizens who are just as ignorant of the law as the President is.

This can’t be put off any longer: if he is going to keep tweeting, the President’s tweets have to be vetted by a lawyer.

NOT this one, though.

17 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Social Media

17 responses to “Unethical Presidential Tweet Of The Month

  1. Jack wrote, “This can’t be put off any longer: if he is going to keep tweeting, the President’s tweets have to be vetted by a lawyer.”

    No, his twitter account needs to go silent.

  2. Isaac

    The month is only half over! Don’t underestimate him.

  3. Wayne

    I’m kind of intrigued by Donald Trump’s lawyer. He sounds like the kind of guy that could be portrayed by Joe Pessi in some sort of a mini series.

  4. Glenn Logan

    “Unethical presidential tweet of the month” must be a really tough category under Trump. Trying to pick the winner from such a pool of high-quality candidates must be a bitch. 🙂

  5. Glenn Logan

    One more thing — only Donald Trump could make it possible (and necessary) to rationally defend Snoop Dogg’s nonsense.

  6. John Billingsley

    Hypothetically, what would have happened if say Eminem or Machine Gun Kelly had made the same video featuring President Obama as the target? Would the result have been “jail time?” Well probably not literally, but there would have been cries of racism and such opprobrium that careers would have been ended or greatly curtailed. I don’t know if President Trump actually feels they would have received jail time or if he believes they should have but I think in his own reply to his rhetorical question, “jail time” is more of a symbolic response just as the gun used in the video was a symbolic gun. When he Tweeted, “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” he was unequivocal regarding that First Amendment issue.

    Regarding Tweets in general, very few people are able to make any kind of substantive statement in 140 characters. In Freudian terms, Tweets are typically representations of the id. We see the Tweeter’s instinctual drives acting according to the pleasure principle seeking immediate gratification of any impulse. With Trump’s, as with most, we sure don’t get to see much of the ego or super ego. Tweets are the written equivalent of “shooting your mouth off” but unfortunately are enshrined in perpetuity on the web for all to mock as an example of just how truly stupid one can be.

    • Regarding Tweets in general, very few people are able to make any kind of substantive statement in 140 characters.

      Right, which is why a President, whose words matter, should stay 50 miles away from it.

      Of course the President is right about the double standard, and I’m sure he is frustrated by the news media attacking him for trivia when it allowed Obama to sail along largely untouched. But he still can’t misrepresent the law, and responding to every slur just makes him looks weak.

    • Chris

      What evidence is there that Trump has anything but id?

  7. Mrs. Q

    I remember when NWA had their rap battle with former member Ice Cube. Those videos got pretty nasty, but it was for the sake of art…I guess. While I feel Snoops’ video is in very bad taste during this politically tense time (in my town you can’t walk one block without a smug “In Our America” sign somewhere), indeed Trumps tweet was inaccurate. That being said, he has a right to fear for his life.

  8. dragin_dragon

    Somebody (a white guy, I think) did a movie, not very good, about assassinating George Bush, didn’t they? NO JAIL TIME!

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