On Tweets, President’s Supporters May be Only Ones Who Can Get Him to Change Course

By John Murdock Published on July 5, 2017

During the campaign, a friend whom I will call “Jim” wrote on social media of Donald Trump, “Wake up folks. NOT a conservative.” Jim also shared a link decrying the “Trump’s campaign spreading false smears” about a woman in the world of political media. Recently, I called it “nuttiness” that President Trump would tweet insults at television personality Mika Brzezinski from the White House. Jim dismissed that as “hyperbole.”

Soon, Jim will be serving in the upper echelons of a federal department.

Jim’s transformation from Trump basher to one basking in Trump’s warm glow is not uncommon. Many conservative Christians have made the transition from critics to enthusiastic riders on the Trump train. But they still need to know when to pull the emergency brake.

Reluctant Vote

Jim arrived at this point the way many Christians who voted for Trump did. After the convention came a barrage of posts about what was wrong with Hillary Clinton. Eventually Jim shared a piece entitled, “After much prayer and soul-searching, I have reluctantly decided to vote for the Trump-Pence ticket. Here’s why.” It pointed to the GOP platform, to Mike Pence, and to the alternative.

Jim didn’t say much positive about Trump himself before election day. He probably still heard the echoes of posts past. National Review’s “Against Trump” issue had been, he said, a “must read.” And he had previously wanted friends to see Max Lucado saying, “If he’s going to call himself a Christian one day and call someone a bimbo the next or make fun of somebody’s menstrual cycle, it’s just beyond reason to me.”

Jim Jumps on Board the Trump Train

I get why Jim voted as he did. Hillary Clinton was unacceptable. Living in a swing state, Jim didn’t have the luxury of casting a protest vote, as I did in “safe” Texas. And I will admit to being more happy than sad myself when Trump pulled off the improbable.

Responsibilities to the country and to its institutions transcend any one man, and any four year span.

President Trump has achieved some important victories since taking office. There’s the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and foreign aid money won’t be going to abortion backers anymore. Just imagine what else could happen with a little focus and discipline. But the president has consumed trainloads of of time, energy and political capital on petty fights with the media. Is this really the highest and best use of his time? It’s almost as if he wants to derail his presidency when it’s barely left the station.

It’s time for all those who are in the Administration and all those who have supported the President to seriously reflect.

Responsibilities to the country and to its institutions transcend any one man, and any four year span. At what point should political appointees put the White House on notice that either the Twitter device goes or they do? And what of his supporters outside government? Barbs from his ardent critics certainly won’t persuade him to change course; but perhaps the voices of those once reluctant voters who put him in office can.

Time to Pull the Emergency Brake?

Unfortunately, too few supporters seem willing to speak up. Instead, the President appears to be drawing many along with him who should know better.

Trump apparently even asked his White House staffers what they thought of his “Morning Joe” messages. “Some praised the tweets,” reports the New York Post, while “others kept their heads down.” And so, partly because no one said what needed to be said, we now have the President of the United States of America sending around doctored WrestleMania videos. Sad.

Instead of defending Trump’s latest Twitter rant, maybe it’s time to look back at our own words on social media. Has tribal loyalty bought our silence or changed our tune because “our” guy would get gored by the very standards we once applied? Has confirmation bias blinded us?

Always applauding the engineer is not truly helping if the locomotive is headed down the wrong track. This train is set to run for another three and a half years. How far from our true home will we let it take us before we test the brakes and call for a course-correction?



John Murdock worked for over a decade in Washington, D.C. He now teaches at the Handong International Law School, a Christian institution in South Korea.

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