The Tweeting President: Madman or Master Manipulator?

We should get used to the new reality. This is who the man is.

President Donald Trump arrives speak during the Celebrate Freedom event at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Saturday, July 1, 2017.

By Michael Brown Published on July 4, 2017

What are we to make of our tweeting Commander in Chief? Has he proven himself to be mentally unstable to the point of being unqualified to be president? Or is he a genius who is always several steps ahead, tweeting with brilliant purpose and plan?

Rather than backing down after the brouhaha concerning his Joe and Mika tweets, he redoubled his efforts, defending his use of Twitter and going one step farther, posting his instantly infamous CNN-takedown video. What are we to make of this?

Trump Fans: Brilliant Strategy!

Those who believe this is all part of a brilliant strategy will point to the following.

First, he managed to get elected like this, defying all odds and overcoming all opposition. As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Second, he can get the media to turn on a dime, changing their focus to cover his latest tweet rather than pursuing their own agenda. So, it may look like he’s being harassed, but he’s really sending the media on a wild goose chase of his choosing.

Third, while his critics rage, his most loyal supporters cheer him on. “We’ve wanted a fighter like this for years,” they say. “The media is just plain evil.”

While his critics rage, his most loyal supporters cheer him on. “We’ve wanted a fighter like this for years,” they say. “The media is just plain evil.”

Fourth, it’s remotely possible that he’s sending subtle signals to hostile world leaders, telling them to tread carefully. “After all,” he’s allegedly suggesting, “you don’t want to mess with me. I’m a little crazy and you have no idea what I might do if you cross me.”

Those attributing this level of genius to Trump would qualify as TRUE Trump fans, according to a funny piece on the satirical Christian website, the Babylon Bee. The piece listed 7 multiple choice questions, including: “President Trump trips and tumbles down the steps of Air Force 1, knocking all of his front teeth out. What do you think?”

According to a true Trump fan, the correct answer is: “I GUARANTEE he did on purpose to outmaneuver his enemies. This is classic TRUMP 4D CHESS!”

It’s funny, but fairly accurate in terms of how Trump can do no wrong in the eyes his most devoted followers.

Trump Critics: Disturbing Pattern!

Those who believe that the president’s tweets reveal a deeply disturbing pattern will point to the following.

First, ask yourself how people would look at you if you vilified others as he has, using the same descriptions and insults. He has degraded himself and the office of the presidency by his remarks.

Second, it’s obvious that he’s out of control, since he’s very thin-skinned and would never do anything to generate more insults. That means that he’s not calculating at all; instead, he’s just reacting like a little child.

Third, many of his supporters can’t defend some of his recent tweets. If he’s so smart, why would he push away his base?

Fourth, without the support of world leaders, his effectiveness will be greatly limited. Why alienate our allies and further provoke our enemies? That’s not brilliant; that’s buffoonish.

What, then, should we make of our tweeting president?

Realists: For Better or Worse, It’s Who He Is

For me, it’s pretty simple, and I can boil it down to 6 words: This is who the man is. As he recently tweeted, “My use of social media is not Presidential – it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!”

Or, to state this more accurately, these tweets are MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL because of our current, MODERN DAY PRESIDENT. In other words, while tweeting presidents may be here to stay, the types of tweets sent out by this president are uniquely his own. To repeat: This is who the man is.

Many believe he has degraded himself and the office of the presidency by his remarks.

Like many others who voted for him, I hoped he would become more presidential (in the traditional sense of the word) once in office, but for the moment, I’ve given up that hope. (I’m not saying it won’t or can’t happen; I’m just resigned to the fact that, right now, that’s not the case.)

He is who he is, and it’s gotten him this far, like it or not. He’s the most powerful elected official on the planet and certainly the most talked about political figure on earth, not to mention Time Magazine’s most recent man of the year.

Is there any single brand-name better known than “Trump” right now?

Get Used to the New Reality, and Pray

On the one hand, he obviously knows what he is doing, and it is anything but totally out of control. There is a method to the apparent madness.

On the other hand, his fleshly failings are there for all to see, and there is much to regret in what he does.

In his tweets and actions, there’s definitely a mixture of carnality and calculation. That’s just who the man is.

So, he can appoint a fine justice like Neil Gorsuch, deliver a powerful speech in Saudi Arabia, call out the hypocrisy of Mahmoud Abbas to his face, stand shoulder to shoulder with evangelical Christians and show them deep respect, just to name a few of the very good things he has done in his first six months. Yet he can call Joe Scarborough “Psycho” and mock Mika Brzezinski as “Crazy” (and mention her allegedly “bleeding,” post-facelift face), then post edited footage from his appearance at WrestleMania (!), where he is beating up CNN.

That means that, while we should pray fervently for our president, who could potentially do great harm or great good, we should also get used to the new reality. This is who the man is.

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  • Patmos

    He’s not a politician. Apparently those disturbed by him would rather have Obama’s facade and complete failure of a Middle East policy.

  • Paul

    Michael, you’re striking a different tone with this article than your previous. Gone is your demand that people should be ashamed of Trump. Did you wake up and smell the coffee?

    • dchap

      I don’t believe this article communicates that Dr. Brown believes it is permissible for believers to defend Trump’s carnality at any and all costs.

      This article (as his many others about Trump) states that Trump’s done some good, he’s done some bad, but his methods (for better or for worse) are part of who he is. That’s in no way an excuse but simply an observation.

      • Paul

        Who said anything about defending Trump at any and all costs?

        • dchap

          Believers defending Trump’s carnal actions was what his previous article was about. Your initial comment seemed to indicate that you disagreed with him on that. What am I missing?

          • Paul

            In “Don’t Sell Your Soul Defending the Words of President Trump”, Michael shared his tweet saying, “If you’re a Christian who supports Trump, you should still be ashamed of his Twitter attacks on MSNBC hosts today. Beneath the POTUS!” Further adding “eally now, for the most powerful elected official on the planet to call liberal newscasters “Psycho Joe” and “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” is indefensible. (Let’s not even discuss the “bleeding” reference and where that leads.) And to defend him — I mean for us to defend him as Christian conservatives — is even less defensible.”

            Yes I do disagree with those comments. I’m not going to hell for recognizing that these ‘journalists’ are in full attack mode against Trump 24/7, and that Trumps historic pattern is to punch back as he yet again did.

            Now in this article Michael seems to have woken up to what’s going on. Gone is the pseudo-prophet proclamation over every conservative Christian and now replaced with some analysis of what might be actually going on. As I said earlier Michael has struck a different tone here saying “We should get used to the new reality. This is who the man is.” That I agree with.

          • dchap

            Ah! You are taking the title, “Don’t Sell Your Soul” to mean he’s condemning believers to hell who defend Trump’s tweets. Selling your soul doesn’t only/always mean hellbound. It also means to sell out. Someone willing to do/accept a given action (that they normally would not) for a desired end result.

            These two articles are not contradictory in the least. One calls believers to step higher and not defend Trump’s carnal actions simply because you see the media, leftists, etc. as the opposition. The second article gives an analysis as to why Trump may be doing what he’s doing.

            You can easily analyze someone’s actions while simultaneously believing said action is shameful and indefensible (especially for believers).

          • Paul

            I quoted much more than just the title, but specific to that when discussing the souls of Christians as he is doing, my understanding is very reasonable.

          • dchap

            Yes, you did quote more. The strongest words found within the rest of your quoted words were “ashamed” and “indefensible.” That means hell-bound to you?

            How is your understanding reasonable (I’m seriously asking.)?

          • Paul

            Since you want to speak for Michael, tell me, if a Christian sells their soul by choosing to do something, to who are they selling their soul?

          • dchap

            You seem to want to speak for Dr. Brown as well by saying he declared you hell-bound (which the article does not say). I pointed to Dr. Brown’s words calling Trump’s tweets “less defensible for CHRISTIAN conservatives.”

            So I’ll gladly answer your question once you communicate your reasonable understanding as to how someone can call you a Christian yet declare you hell-bound at the same time? Perhaps your understanding (in this specific situation) isn’t reasonable after all?

          • Paul

            my latest question to you illustrates the obvious which is why I presume you’re avoiding answering it. I’m not speaking for Michael, I’m letting his own words speak for himself.

            This whole exchange started from my remark that Michael has struck a different tone in this new article, my opinion hasn’t changed on that.

          • dchap

            Your initial remark wasn’t just that Dr. Brown struck a different tone with this article but that the tone of this article was in conflict with the tone of his previous article (which it’s not). Again, you can analyze someone’s actions while still condemning them.

            And actually, I’m the one letting Dr. Brown’s own words speak for themselves (hence my question to you). He said it’s less defensible for Christians. So he’s obviously not insinuating you are hell-bound. It’s really quite clear.

            Appears that you are the one avoiding answering. I told you I would gladly answer your question but you never addressed my previous point. I wanted to make sure you responded to it (which you haven’t because it contradicts your understanding) before moving on to a secondary detail.

            Sell your soul is an idiom. It doesn’t have to (and most of the time does not) mean you literally forfeited your soul to someone. It’s an expression used to convey the idea that you were willing to do something that goes against a certain set of principles (which you normally wouldn’t or shouldn’t do) in order to achieve a certain end result. In other words, a situation in which the ends do not justify the means.

            Still waiting for you to answer my question…

          • Paul

            It’s incumbent on Michael to clarify his own remarks. Debating with you that his words don’t mean what they say is a pointless exercise, feel free to have the last word on this.

          • dchap

            I’m not looking to have the last word. So please answer my question (after all, I answered yours) and we can leave it at that.

          • Paul

            Is the question you are referring to “How is your understanding reasonable (I’m seriously asking.)?”

            If so I am simply taking Michael’s words at face value. That is a reasonable thing to do unless the author clarifies differently.

            If it is as you say he was simply using a figure of speech then I suggest the selling of Christian souls isn’t something he should be so loose about. It’s too serious an issue in our faith to joke about.

            Our exchange is fascinatingly ironic though, Michael was declaring the requirement that I as a Christian should be ashamed of Trumps words and that defending him is indefensible. But now that I hold Michael to account for his words I’m supposed to not take him seriously and that it was just a figure of speech. Wasn’t Trump also using figures of speech? But since it is Trump I’m supposed to be ashamed. But now it just is what it is and we should get used to it.

            If you can’t see how this new article has struck a very different tone from the previous I really don’t know what else to say.

          • dchap

            No.

            My question was how can someone call you a Christian yet declare you hell-bound at the same time? In other words, if someone labels you a Christian, isn’t unreasonable to come to the conclusion that they are declaring you hell-bound?

          • Paul

            what your line of thinking ultimately boils down to is the debate over if a follower of Christ can do something that results in them no longer being saved. I find ample evidence in the scripture for that to be the case. As such it is reasonable for a person to speak to Christians about what may cause that result. In the case of Michael’s earlier article I think he is completely off base in that assertion.

          • dchap

            Just to be clear, I believe that a Christian can forfeit their salvation, but I won’t respond to the rest of your remarks because I told you I would leave things at this point once you responded. I appreciate the civil interaction!

  • Christian

    Very good article!

  • meamsane

    He’s certainly not a conformist, is he!

  • fights

    And this is precisely why he was elected. He was this way before he was elected and people including many Christians, are shocked. Why? He’s the same as he was before he was elected.

  • Larry Hutto

    Good article Dr. Brown. States him as it is. So, we continue to pray believing prayers for reformation in His way.

  • BroFrank

    There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall
    stand.
    The desire of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar.

    (Proverbs 19:21-22 KJV)

    For many years we have assumed that polish and appearances are just as important as . . . being honest, and delivering on campaign promises. We know that man is sinful, but prefer not to see our President’s dirty laundry. Which would we prefer: a polished politician selling our country out in the dark—or honest “mistakes” in the open?

    I’ll opt for the latter and PRAY!

    Thanks for your insights, Dr. Brown.

    • Anne E. Reid

      I have had the exact same thoughts. The previous president was so smug and deliberate in reading from the teleprompter yet to me, he was a cold, frozen mouthpiece of the ones whom he allowed to purchase him as a front man. There is power in prayer and only Christians can activate the arm of God, thankfully

  • Hmmm…

    He needs the Lord, that’s all.

    • Az1seeit

      As do we all.

      • Hmmm…

        Not in the same way. If you have not the spirit of God, you are none of his, says the NT. Those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior have his spirit. Those who have not, do not. He is the savior and can set the terms. God loves everyone, but he is only in covenant relationship with those who receive him on his terms, instead of making up stuff that seems right to them. The spirit of God inside a man or woman is unmistakable in presence, transformation, influence, guidance, comfort. These are plucked out of the devil’s hand. Those who do not make Jesus their lord and allow Jesus in by his spirit are still in the hand of the enemy of the Lord. The Bible is clear on this.

        • Az1seeit

          You didn’t specify a “way”. The bottom line of humanity is we all need the Lord…specifically the atoning work of Jesus Christ…or we are subject to God’s wrath….thus my statement.

          • Hmmm…

            This matters. Receiving Jesus is not a technicality. After you do, on his terms, you don’t “need” him in the sense that you did before and the way others do who do not have him inside. When you are saved, that is something! Yes, we must feed our living spirit and choose to absorb his word and presence in order to hear him and know him more fully and his will and leading for us. You put the bottom line on the negative basis. I prefer it on the positive. Salvation is so great, so powerful and encompassing, there is no quibbling over it, the greatest of all gifts. Those who have received Jesus as Lord, no longer need to do that. Those who have not received Jesus as Lord must and should immediately. I no longer need the Lord to come in. He has. Some, many, need the Lord still because they have not received him as Lord, allowing him in. The transformation of a life is unmistakable.

          • Az1seeit

            Not trying to be obtuse, but I don’t see any difference in what I said and what you are saying: bottom line …either to escape God’s wrath or to be reconciled to our creator or to have a hope of walking in anything close to being transformed…we are all dependent – read “need” – the Lord. I was simply acknowledging this for not just Trump, but for all of us. Not arguing your point, just extending it.

          • Hmmm…

            I pray you will see it, because you need to. Those who have entered into lordship are saved from wrath by that receiving of his substitution for them. It is no longer HOPE, it is experience from that moment forward. Jesus paid the price for us so we don’t have to. When you enter into his substitution by receiving him inside, you are saved from wrath. You don’t go about trying to earn it after that. It is settled one time and a life dedicated to following after that. Calvary settled it all. If you don’t let Calvary settle the matter for you, then you will not get it settled yourself. Man cannot save himself. No amount of good works and trying and striving can do it. Jesus did it for us and we must each accept that. Now is the day of salvation; settle it for yourself. After doing so, you are no longer lost, no longer in danger of wrath.

            Salvation is a mighty force in your life. You have God, man or lady. It’s the way he said — what he did, not what you do. You enter into rest with Jesus NOW, in this life, and eternity hereafter. Salvation is regeneration of the inner man. Something literally happens in your spirit man, the heart of you. Just do what he said to do, just that, not as you see it. You could change your name to AzHeSezIt.

            But we do have this life on our hands to walk out, to grow and keep fed spiritually and in close communion with him, but those things don’t save us. If you have not allowed the spirit of the living God to enter you by receiving Jesus as your Lord, then there’s no amount of depending on him or hoping in him or anything else to save you. He told us how. The Bible’s right; the Holy Spirit will reveal it to you if you ask.

            Saved people no longer need Jesus; they HAVE him.

          • Az1seeit

            Friend, I am saved. I still need Jesus daily …the sanctification thing….and better yet, I covet more of Him. Perhaps when you were born again, you were perfectly able to walk in holiness in Him. PTL. For me it is a process of Him taking my land bit by bitthat I cannot manage on my own without God. This would be the needing part.

          • Hmmm…

            Jesus is there for me even when I don’t make efforts. Maybe my strong experience has to do with going on to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit, which is empowerment to live the Christian life. God has told us to be strong in the power of His might. He did not tell us to be need minded. We should be supply minded. But, have it your way and see it as you see it if you insist instead of how he sees it, and how it really is. It’s okay. Very few believers actually believe. Greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world. Do you declare that with strength and boldness, or do you struggle and beg, whine and try to do your best, just one day at a time and all that religious rot. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I never have to look him up. As Dr. Cho said as his secret to the largest church in the world: I pray and I obey. Of course, we can do nothing without hm, but I am not without him. You must speak for yourself as to your standing.

          • Az1seeit

            …as you must, and you have. You do not understand that we do not disagree. The Bible says “For all have sinned”…Romans “All we like sheep have gone astray” Isaiah. This is the all I referred to. That is ALL I was talking about. Moving on.

          • Hmmm…

            I disagree heartily with your negative emphasis. You are in the company of millions with that. God bless.

          • Hmmm…

            It’s exactly the point: you cherry pick from those verses, along with most of the religious (not spiritual or word-minded) church.

            Here’s what you left on the table: “24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
            25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
            26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
            Thank God for those who preach justification, remission of sins, faith in his blood instead of sin. Preaching sin alone is error. Jesus did not do all he did, go through all he did, pay the price of ransom for so many, all, to – at the end of all of the horrendous price he paid – leave those he purchased in the same state they started out with — being sinners — no matter what he or they do… and that, tragically, is where most of the church is, including yourself. The light where you are is so dim you cannot even see these powerful verses and all the rest that declare our tremendous salvation.
            There is nothing humble, righteous or even goody-goody about arguing with God’s word, much less twisting it into bad news. The Gospel is good news to all who have the light to see it.

          • Az1seeit

            You have missed my point entirely from the beginning, which is the simple basic reason for Jesus Christ’s presence in our world: mankind’s need. I have tried to be respectful, objective and remain on my point, despite the fact that you have projected your judgements on me and my spiritual condition, and I could have gone over the whole theological board to answer your many aspersions. I have chosen not to, choosing instead to give you the benefit of the doubt and that you mean well. I would ask you to do the same for me. Blessings and peace.

  • Ryan

    It would seem that what the left and its media has done to the American people, Donald Trump is doing to them.

  • treyz

    He enjoys the punching back and forth but at the end of the day, he is letting foreigner leaders know they better not mess with him – or America.

  • LgVt

    Something pointed out in another location, which I think is worth thinking about:

    Around the same time Trump started a tweet war with Joe and Mika, and then CNN, the House of Representatives passed bills capping non-economic damages on medical malpractice lawsuits, stripping federal funding from sanctuary cities and increasing penalties for deported illegal aliens who re-enter the country. The Trump administration also announced plans to overturn the Obama administration’s ban on oil and gas exploration in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

    The amount of media attention these four moves got: A heck of a lot less than was paid to Trump’s tweets about Joe and Mika and CNN.

    I was not a supporter of Trump during the election, and remain skeptical of him today. But if this is being done on purpose–if he’s deliberately turning himself into a lightning rod, and sneaking political victories past the opposition while they’re busy decrying how “unpresidential” he is–it’s a potentially brilliant strategy on his part.

    • Hmmm…

      I agree that it appears that Mr. Trump deliberately draws attention away from, for example, the very bills you mention so that they will fall beneath the radar and avoid media protest and distortion. In a sense, he uses their outrage against him against them.

    • Az1seeit

      Brilliant…until he does something you don’t agree with and it flies under the radar…

  • Wayne Cook

    Things are getting done. Move on. Oh, and that’s the new paradigm. He communicates.

  • BTP

    If a man does not think the tweet where Trump body slams CNN is very funny, then that man’s soul is defective. Complete inability to laugh is some sort of sin, I’m quite sure.

    Speaking of sins… I have to point out that it is also some sort of sin not to know who your friends are.

    • Paul

      I’m not sure on your theology but yes, that video was hilarious.

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