This Thanksgiving holiday weekend Donald Trump has been mysteriously missing from the platform that has been his primary communications medium for years. The president has long insisted that Twitter is the “Only way for me to get the truth out!” without what he says is the bias of the mainstream media. But lately he has been conspicuously absent from his social media megaphone.
On Wednesday Trump tweeted a grand total of four tweets. On Thursday there only three tweets by Trump. On Friday his tweeting dropped down to a single tweet all day. And, so far, on Saturday there have been no tweets by Trump at all. (Note: these numbers are counting only Trump tweets, not retweets).
Trump has an alibi of sorts for Thursday that could be seen as marginally plausible. He turned up in Afghanistan for a surprise visit with American troops stationed there. The White House claimed that Trump had tasked members of his staff to post some tweets while he was traveling to hide the fact that he was on a secret mission. But that doesn't really explain the dearth of tweets. For one thing, Trump could tweet from Air Force One. For another, why were there still so few tweets? That hardly serves the purpose of making Trump's Twitter activity appear normal. And Trump was back in the U.S. the next day, but his tweeting was still way below his average activity.
The average number of tweets by Trump for 2019 to date is about 20 tweets per day. Earlier this month Trump achieved a milestone by blasting out a record 82 tweets in a single day. Most of them were frantic responses to the impeachment inquiry in Congress. The majority of the remainder were clips of his favorite Fox News bootlickers. But the peculiarity of fewer than four tweets per day for the past four days is hard to ignore.
Trump has had nothing else on his schedule that would account for this silence. He isn't on the road for one of his cult rallies. There's no evidence that he's meeting with staff on matters of import. He isn't attending an international summit. If he's lounging around in the White House residence with his family, he isn't sharing any of the tender moments that other American families share on social media. There hasn't been a single picture posted of Trump with Melania and her son, Barron.
The speculation as to Trump's whereabouts, therefore, has to include his health. A couple of weeks ago he was suddenly whisked off to Walter Reed Hospital without prior notice to the press or even to the hospital. The explanation given for the trip was hardly credible. The White House said he was having routine tests in advance of his annual physical – which isn't until next February. And those tests could easily have been done in the well-equipped medical office at the White House. What's more, there have been observations that Trump's speech and movement have been hampered since that hospital visit.
To be sure, there are other reasons why Trump could be laying low. The impeachment hearings revealed abundant evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. Career diplomats and national security professionals testified that he did extort the president of Ukraine by threatening to withhold critical military aid unless they help Trump dig up dirt on Joe Biden. Even the senior legal analyst of Fox News weighed in on the likelihood of Trump's guilt.
Consequently, Trump may just be nervous about making any public comments for fear of making things worse and getting into even more trouble. That, of course, has been the result of much of his previous public comments. During the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch Trump's tweeting might have put him in legal jeopardy for witness intimidation. Trump may even have been counseled to keep his mouth shut by his lawyers as the House Judiciary Committee prepares to take up the formal impeachment hearings. Committee Chairman Jerold Nadler has invited Trump and his attorneys to participate, but it appears that he's going to decline.
On the one hand, Trump's refusal to participate is odd considering that he has been whining about not being able to participate thus far. But on the other hand, it makes perfect sense. After all, Trump would be facing a difficult choice were he to testify under oath. If he tells the truth he likely incriminates himself further. If he lies he's committing perjury. These options may also be on his mind as he decides whether or not to tweet. Or maybe he's on secret mission to Ukraine, North Korea, or Moscow.
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