President Donald Trump has many prized possessions. But few seemed to inspire as much personal joy as his Twitter feed. Trump routinely boasted of the social media bullhorn he possessed. He credited it with launching his political trajectory. And he used it as a tool to lacerate his foes.
On Friday night, he lost it. And, then, he lost his mind.
The president is “ballistic,” a senior administration official said after Twitter permanently took down his account, citing the possibility that it would be used in the final 12 days of Trump’s presidency to incite violence. The official said Trump was “scrambling to figure out what his options are.”
Trump entered office boasting of how he was the “Hemingway of 140 characters” and crediting Twitter in particular for powering his political ascent. More than 56,000 tweets later, he leaves it amid a futile game of Whac-A-Mole with the tech moguls he despises, exiled to the outer provinces of the internet.
Unwilling to go out and speak before the press, the only times the public saw him were through awkwardly-edited White House produced-videos.
There are no plans to immediately emerge from the cocoon either. One White House official said there were internal initial discussions between the White House aides and Trump of doing a “last farewell interview.” But, the official added, “I’m not sure if they’re going to come to fruition,” much to the official’s chagrin.
If this is how Trump’s presidency closes out, it will be a remarkable endnote. As a candidate for office, he was — at times — ubiquitous: posting outrageous takes on Twitter, calling into cable news shows, and grabbing the camera’s attention even when the podium on which he was set to hold a campaign rally was empty. Now, he’s increasingly isolated and receding from the spotlight. His favorite bullhorn is gone; oh, and the presidency is too.