Editorial: Trump’s Twitter tantrums must end

The Detroit News, DetroitNews

Old habits may die hard, but Donald Trump has to get his Twitter rants under control. In fact, he should pledge to give up personal social media altogether. His outburst on Sunday questioning the tally of the popular vote made him look clueless, and very unpresidential.

Trump is a few weeks away from being sworn in as president, and any messages from the White House must be thoroughly vetted for their impact, and their truth.

Words matter when you’re president. And Trump continues to use Twitter to recklessly fire off words that undermine his credibility.

Continuing to toss tantrums on Twitter also is marginalizing his ability to be the president for all Americans — something he claims he wants to be — and gives credence to concerns that he lacks the necessary temperament to be in the Oval Office.

Over the weekend, the president-elect mused, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

Similarly, he stated: “Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California — so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias — big problem!”

The media hasn’t dug into this claim because it’s not based in reality. Yet Trump supporters seem to be eating it up, with his tweets garnering several hundred thousand likes and shares.

Trump is letting a call — led by Green Party candidate Jill Stein — for recounts in several states, including Michigan, get under his skin. And his skin is really thin, as he has proven time and again. Trump is especially disturbed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign has joined the recount effort.

Clinton did win the popular vote, by more than 2 million votes. But Trump won the Electoral College and consequently the presidency. A recount isn’t likely to change the reality that Clinton lost and Trump won. So it’s rather strange that Trump is the one acting like a sore loser.

His weekend tweets once again turn a negative spotlight on Trump when it might otherwise be aimed at those who are demanding and funding this long-shot recount, which seems intended to delegitimize Trump’s victory, and ultimately his presidency.

The twitter flurry, and an earlier one aimed at Hamilton actors who rudely berated Vice President Mike Pence, represent a step backward for Trump. In the days following his win, he exhibited signs of self control and a conciliatory tone. He’s toned down some of his more incendiary campaign proposals, reached out to his foes in the GOP and has made some solid picks for his cabinet.

Yet his weekend tantrum shows Trump is still too easily entangled in petty fights. He’s got to stop engaging on such an intensely personal level. Impulsive tweeting doesn’t fit into the role of mature, measured leadership.

Trump should hire a professional to handle his social media messaging, as most politicians do, and start acting the part of president.