Trump sustains attacks targeting political opponents through Twitter, lacks leadership


Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. //Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore

Unprofessional. Irresponsible. Reckless. These are among the plethora of unsavory adjectives that come to mind when thinking of Donald Trump’s most recent Twitter scandal.

On Sept. 13, Trump retweeted a tweet of an edited GIF of Trump swinging a golf ball into Hillary Clinton’s back, causing her to collapse.

People have responded to the retweet on multiple social platforms. Some with negative, chastising responses, while others have jumped to Trump’s defense. His defenders have claimed it was merely a joke, and that there is no issue with Trump choosing to retweet it.

When Trump was voted into office in November, there was an enormous amount of backlash. Those who did not vote for him claimed he was “not their president.” This budding movement has turned into a nationwide campaign.

Though many claim that Trump is not their president, he is still the representative of the United States. Trump’s actions are seen not only nationally, but globally. To see the president of the United States support a joke where his political opponent is injured by his own hand is unacceptable.

The president is meant to be a figure of solidarity, grace and poise, someone with the utmost respect and gravitas. Trump has not risen to the occasion, proving once again that he will take the most childish route to express his contempt for his political opponents.

This level of immaturity and classlessness is seldom seen when looking to other countries. When Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected president of France, gave his acceptance speech in early May, he addressed Marine Le Pen, his opponent, with respect. He addressed her as “Madame Le Pen” even as the crowd booed her.

Time and time again, we fail to see this trait in the President of the United States. In March of 2016, Trump retweeted an image of Ted Cruz’s wife compared to his own wife, Melania. The caption was, “The images are worth a thousand words.” He blatantly attacked his political opponent’s wife, a low and dirty move. It lacked respect for women and Cruz, and now with his most recent questionable retweet, we wonder if this pattern will persist.

Those defending Trump have argued that it was his right to retweet the GIF because he has the right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is a right afforded to all people in the United States. However, there are lines that simply should not be crossed.

It is Trump’s job, as president, to express his opinions and his policies. He has every available platform to do so. However, this immature expression of his point of view was uncalled for. He was publically supporting the humiliation of Clinton, likely in response to her recently published book “What Happened?” In her book, she personally attacks Trump and his character and calls for investigation of the 2016 election. While it is understandable to be upset, retweeting the GIF was an abuse of power and of the public platform he has.

Trump is entitled to his own opinions. He can despise Clinton and her policies. But as the president, Trump has a responsibility to respect those who do not agree with him. He has a responsibility to keep his own personal opinions and attacks to himself, or at least refrain from spreading them across his public platforms. His support of the humiliation of Clinton and against his opponents is deplorable. It is small. It is wrong. It is not presidential.