Mark Wilson

It’s Been a Big Week for Trump’s Twitter Diplomacy

And not in a good way.
Donald Trump may love Twitter even more than he loves putting his name on things. He’s used the platform to express his views on Diet Coke; he uses it to vent; and now that he’s president, he’s found a new use for it: alienating the U.S.’s allies.

Following the deadly terrorist attack in London over the weekend, Trump adopted the normal presidential tact of expressing solidarity with the United Kingdom. Then he changed his mind and started attacking London Mayor Sadiq Khan for saying that there’s “no reason to be alarmed.”

There are several problems with this, aside from the fact that publicly insulting an ally usually isn’t a good look.

First, the statement was clearly taken out of context; Khan was informing the public that they shouldn’t be alarmed by the increased police presence in the city.

Second, as Senator Chris Murphy was quick to point out, stoking panic is one of the primary goals of terrorism.

Third, Khan is Muslim, and Trump’s decision to go after him is pretty bad PR for a guy who’s trying to argue in court that his proposed travel ban doesn’t constitute religious discrimination against Muslim people.

Khan is now calling for Trump’s scheduled visit to the U.K. in October to be cancelled.

But Trump’s Twitter rant yesterday proved that feuding with the mayor of a recently terrorized city was just a warm-up. Following a decision by Saudi Arabia and several other Arab states to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar for funding terrorism, Trump offered his unambiguous support for the move.

Putting aside that Trump previously accused Saudi Arabia of being “the world’s biggest funder of terrorism,” he also may not have fully understood what was at stake when he tweeted that. (Surprise!)

Qatar happens to be home to the U.S.’s largest military base in the region, which means that the Pentagon has had to do some serious backpedaling in response to Trump’s statements. After all, battling terrorism in the Middle East is probably a lot harder if you don’t have a functioning military hub there.

To put all this in perspective, Trump started badmouthing Khan on Sunday. He tweeted about Qatar on Tuesday morning. It’s only Wednesday.

Maybe Trevor’s right: Trump might want to consider doing more pretending to be president and doing less actual presidenting, because it doesn’t seem like he’s very good at it.