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Twitter tracker: Trump hits Clinton with golf ball

Twitter tracker: Trump hits Clinton with golf ball
September 19
14:26 2017

Each day, Variety dissects the inspiration and meaning behind one of President Donald Trump’s tweets.

Today’s (re)tweet:

Why did James Comey leak material to the failing , written while he was head of the fbi, AFTER he was fired? pic.twitter.com/fcoO2hUdZk

What’s Behind It: On Sunday morning, just as most people were still sleeping, reading the paper or heading to church, President Donald Trump sent out a series of tweets, in one calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “rocket man,” in another retweeting an image of a train with a Make America Great Again hat on the engine.

Then there was the retweet of a video of Trump driving a golf ball so it hits Hillary Clinton in the back. It’s all doctored, of course, but the video had been posted by someone with the handle @fuctupmind. That just about says it all.

Why Now: The video seems to have been made in response to the spate of publicity that Clinton is receiving for her book tour, telling her side of the story of what happened (the book’s title) in the 2016 campaign. Trump seems to have been particularly irked by Clinton’s platform this week, in which she has said that she is “convinced” that there was some kind of collusion between Trump associates and Russian sources.

What’s the Fallout: You can view it two ways: the retweeted video is juvenile, “Caddyshack”-like humor, or that its a not-too-subtle advocacy of harm to a political opponent. It’s certainly not presidential, in the traditional sense of the word.

It was immediately condemned by a spate of commentators, including Ana Navarro of CNN and David Frum of The Atlantic. Frum wrote on Twitter, “When Kathy Griffin fantasized about doing violence to him, Trump demanded the whole nation share his outrage. Most did. And now …”

Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, tweeted that Trump was “unfit.”

The President of the United States just retweeted a video vignette that imagines him assaulting his political rival. The man is unfit.

But what’s probably the most notable is the lack of reaction to the tweet. Contrast it to Trump’s retweet, earlier this summer, of a mocked up video that showed him body slamming a man with “CNN” superimposed on his head. That inspired a day long spate of stories that put Republicans on Capitol Hill on the spot to respond. This time, the reaction to the Trump tweet seem to dissipate by day’s end.

As much as this may be the “new normal,” it also may be the reflection of the polarization that comes with Trump. Given all of the past outrage or spirited defense over Trump’s more outrageous retweets, perhaps this is just the latest reminder that Trump will always be Trump. Staunch defenders look at it as just another joke or, in the case of one of his supporters on CNN, note that retweets are not endorsements (even though Trump doesn’t include that disclaimer on his Twitter bio). Otherwise, for those dismayed by this latest outburst, it’s another thing to be added to the list.

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