Stipulated: the ethics position here has been since long before the Trump years that Presidents should keep their opinions of persons, places, things and events having nothing to do with their duties or responsibilities to themselves.
Presidents are not kings, nor popes, nor universal authorities on everything. They have a role to fill, and they should fill it; it’s not like there should be plenty of time left over for weighing in on such matters as sports, popular culture, celebrities, and local controversies.
President Obama did far more of this than was responsible or good for the country, notably during race-related controversies. President Trump, obviously, has taken this misuse of his position into the stratosphere with his addiction to Twitter. His unrestrained tweets have done him at least as much harm as good; my own guess is that if he eschewed social media, his approval ratings would be 10% higher than they are.
It is also, I think, beyond argument that Trump’s use of Twitter guarantees that future Presidents will also use it to opine on matters that are none of their business. This is not a good thing.
The President’s latest self-made controversy, actually two controversies, came when he tweeted in part last week,
“How bad were the Academy Awards this year? Did you see? And the winner is: a movie from South Korea. What the hell was that all about? We’ve got enough problems with South Korea, with trade. On top of it, they give them the best movie of the year? Was it good? I don’t know? I’m looking for — where? — can we get ‘Gone with the Wind’ back please? ‘Sunset Boulevard.’ So many great movies. The winner is: from South Korea. I thought it was Best Foreign Film. Best Foreign Movie. No. Has this ever happened before? …”
And then he went off on Brad Pitt’s gratuitous crack about John Bolton. Continue reading