President Donald Trump offered a solid explanation Tuesday of why he will continue to tweet, despite the objections of Attorney General William Barr and others to the practice, saying it is likely the reason he was elected and has been able to remain in office.
Asked before he departed Washington, D.C., on a western state swing whether he agreed with Barr’s call for him to stop tweeting about matters before the Justice Department, Trump responded,“You know everybody has the right to speak their mind, and I use social media.
“I guess I use it well, because here I am, I’m here, and I probably wouldn’t have gotten here without social media, because I certainly don’t get fair press.”
Trump cited the two “hoaxes” he’s had to fight his way through, providing counter-narratives to the establishment media while continuing to govern: the Mueller probe and the Democrat-led impeachment push over the commander in chief’s call with the president of Ukraine last summer.
“If I didn’t have social media, I probably wouldn’t be here. So, I’m very happy with social media,” Trump said.
The president has nearly 73 million followers on Twitter and over 26 million followers on Facebook.
Trump conceded, “I do make [Barr’s] job harder,” but added, “He’s a very straight shooter. We have a great attorney general and he’s working very hard.”
Last week, Barr told ABC News, the chief executive’s tweets, “make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.”
The president had weighed in on Roger Stone’s case, saying his longtime friend “was treated horribly,” and the initial 9-year sentencing recommendation by DOJ prosecutors was a “disgrace.”
The DOJ pulled the recommendation following Trump’s public comments, leaving the matter completely in the judge’s hands.
Barr insisted in his ABC News interview that Trump’s views had nothing to do with his department’s decision to withdraw the prosecutors’ proposed sentencing.
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,” the attorney general said.
On Tuesday, Trump told reporters regarding Barr: “I think he’s doing an excellent job. He’s a strong guy. I never spoke to him about the Roger Stone situation.”
That said, the president reiterated that he had the right to weigh in on such matters, pointing to the unfair treatment Stone and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and others have received at the hands of DOJ prosecutors, while former government officials like former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe get a free pass.
There must be JUSTICE. This can never happen to a President, or our Country, again! https://t.co/5epW4JPYkF
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2020
Both admitted to leaking sensitive matters to the media against FBI policy directives and have been implicated in other malfeasance regarding obtaining FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, using the bogus Democratic National Committee / Hillary Clinton campaign financed Trump-Russia dossier.
“You look at what’s happening to these people [like Stone and Flynn]. Somebody has to stick up for the people. So social media is very powerful,” Trump said.
“Social media for me has been very important because it gives me a voice,” he added. “Because I don’t get that voice in the press, in the media. I don’t get that voice, so I’m allowed to have a voice.”
The Justice Department shut down anonymously sourced reports circulating Monday that Barr was considering stepping down because of Trump’s tweets.
Addressing Beltway rumors: The Attorney General has no plans to resign.
— KerriKupecDOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) February 19, 2020
“Addressing Beltway rumors: The Attorney General has no plans to resign,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec tweeted Tuesday night.
Multiple studies have shown Trump has faced more negative media attention than any president in modern history.
The Pew Research Center found that during the first two months of Trump’s presidency, 62 percent of his coverage was negative, compared to 28 percent for both presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush, and a mere 20 percent for Barack Obama.
For Trump, an additional 33 percent was neutral, while only 5 percent was positive.
Social media has been an equalizer for the president.
True, some of his tweets might be considered imprudent, but on the whole the president has used the platform to great effect — and should continue to do so.
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