Public Diplomacy and the Twitting US Presidential candidate, now President Trump:an analysis

Donald Trump, US President, is an ‘unconventional’ president in many ways. He is the man who with no known political credentials having never held public office, became the US Republican party presidential nominee after beating seasoned, established politicians and campaigners such as social conservatives darling and accomplished public speaker Ted Cruz and longest serving (2000-2015)  Texas Governor, Rick Perry among others http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/03/22/which-republicans-are-running-for-us-president-in-2016/). Trump followed that by giving a drubbing to the favorite Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton former New York Senator and Secretary of State in November 2016’s Presidential elections,(http://www.politico.com/2016-election/results/map/president)

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Among the unconventional ways used by Donald Trump throughout his campaign and post elections, is his prolific use of Twitter to share his thoughts publicly, even on matters regarded as sacred. One example is how he chose to tackle CIA’s claim of vote rigging by Russia. His respond was a loaded 140 character statement reminding the CIA how they got Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction horribly wrong, (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-russia-hacking-us-election-interference-incies-cia-meeting-delayed-a7ntelligence-age508306.html).

Notably, Trump is not wrong in questioning whether the CIA got it right as it is a known fact that they have at times got it wrong. The intelligence body got it wrong in 1962 as they concluded that the Soviet Union would never dream of placing nuclear missiles in Cuba. This was horribly wrong as weeks later a U-2 spy plane spotted irrefutable evidence of the Soviets installation of missiles in Cuba. And more recently, just about fourteen years ago, the Saddam WMDs that never were, was a huge embarrassment for the US. There is in essence nothing amiss about Donald Trump questioning the plausibility of intelligence hacking claims by Russia. However it is the manner in which he chose to do so, right in the public domain of Twitter, a social media? Whereas analysts may have an understanding of Trump’s twitter use for public diplomacy targeted for domestic audience, the US electorate. It is his use of Twitter for foreign affairs issues which is unprecedented and has left many with questions. Will he be able to balance his position as the most senior diplomat for his country, with the responsibilities that come with his office without upsetting other state leaders? How will his public diplomacy through a 140 character twitter feed endear him to US diplomats posted around the world as well other powerful leaders such as the Chinese and the Russians? How will other world leaders view the US President’s unprecedented style of communicating with them?

If one was to put President Trump’s twitter behavior and attitude into perspective, making comparisons with his predecessor President Obama, one can identify clear differences. Obama’s three days after winning 2008 elections were spent talking to journalists and the world at press conferences, whereas three days after his November 2016 election win and the days which followed Trump was constantly on twitter giving out information that would have otherwise been given through traditional media ways such as a press conference. As an example Trump twitted the names of state leaders he had interacted with before his press team has released such briefings.

I have recieved and taken calls from many foreign leaders despite what the failing @nytimes said. Russia, U.K., China, Saudi Arabia, Japan,

12:17 PM – 16 Nov 2016

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One thought on “Public Diplomacy and the Twitting US Presidential candidate, now President Trump:an analysis

  1. icantbelievethisusernamehasbeentaken February 6, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    A very interesting blog entry on a matter of current affairs that can easily be connected to the contents of this module. I particularly enjoyed the broadness of your analysis that touches issues such as in what way Trumps’s use of twitter represents a new way in approaching domestic and foreign audiences, what consequences can be drawn from such practice, what elements of continuity and distance it denotes from past presidents’ practices. At one point you referenced this approach’s virtue of immediacy which really caught my attention. Don’t you think this is a double-edged sword? Isn’t that killing off diplomacy’s much-needed possibility of buying time when addressing serious and controversial issues?

    Like

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