When is a tweet a Presidential order?


After President Trump abruptly announced his intention to kick transgender people out of the military, Mark Cuban posed a question on Twitter:


In jest, I submit "Don't ask, don't tell". Because we don't want to know the answer to that question.

The fact is that by airing all of his grievances and dirty laundry in real time on the Internet without so much as a filter, he's putting us in danger.

I've long said that I think any President should spend a few minutes a day sharing his or her personal assessment of the day. In my mind, that means a quick hundred words or so -- just enough to engage the public with Presidential thinking.

What we've gotten instead is a never-ending stream of half-baked ideas and un-redeeming feuds.

We are lucky that these have (so far) been directed mostly inward. We will not be so lucky if the President starts flailing in the direction of another head of state with national honor to defend.

Policies are established by protocols for a reason. Major policies cannot be created or struck down in 140 characters.

And yet, the only true communications director in this particular White House is the one who can press the button to send a tweet. Anything issued officially by the communications office -- including a major statement on policy -- is as worthless as the paper upon which it is printed when the same policies can be announced, reversed, overturned, or reinterpreted at will by the President.

Are the President's tweets official statements of policy? Yes. Are they to be taken seriously? Yes. Do they have the force of law? Er -- probably not.

But the ambiguity itself is the rub: The fact that we do not know what constitutes an official statement and what does not fundamentally undermines any statement they choose to make. We are woefully close to the point at which nothing -- even a POTUS tweet -- can be taken seriously.

And that is why we don't want to ask if those statements are official policies. We don't want to ask, because we don't want them to tell.

Brian Gongol

Brian Gongol

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