By: Michelle Lee & Christine Lee | English Columnists
Issues with this Tweet
In this tweet, Donald Trump says he would “NEVER” call the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, “short and fat,” yet, by publishing this tweet he in fact he call him “short and fat” to whoever he’s addressing. This is obvious - we’re not the only ones who thought so:
Many news outlets interpreted this tweet as sarcasm...
This Tweet can only be interpreted as sarcasm, due to the first part’s explicitly sarcastic nature (he can’t say he won’t call him “short and fat”, then state he believes Kim Jong-un to be short and fat publicly. It just doesn’t work). The sarcastic nature of the first part leads us to believe the second part is also sarcastic. For if he meant it, it goes against Trump’s harsh criticisms Trump has made toward North Korea and its leader.
Trump, however, said he at least meant some of what he said. According to CNN, Trump expanded upon this Tweet stating, “Strange things happen in life. That might be a strange thing that happens. But it is certainly a possibility," Trump said. "If that did happen, it would be a good thing for, I can tell you, for North Korea. But it would also be good for lots of other places, and it would be good for the world."
Given this added statement, we are inclined to wonder if this means Trump is open to a diplomatic relationship with North Korea — which would go against his stance toward North Korea in the past. This statement itself sounds uncertain, vague and not thoroughly deliberated. “Strange things happen in life” — this statement is extremely broad and general. It is also unsure what is meant by him being “friends” with the North Korean dictator when he has publicly denounced Kim Jong-un in many cases.
The Washington Post reported that Trump’s response had more to do with his bitter sentiment against Kim Jong-un’s for personally insulting him, than anything else. It is unique that the U.S. president would send such a direct and personal response to Kim Jong-un with insults of a similar demeanor. The words “short and fat” seem childish and give off the message that Trump isn’t extremely serious about facing the North Korean government in an efficient way which addresses top concerns the hermit kingdom is currently posing to the world. Trump is tweeting about Kim Jong-un’s appearance, when that should hardly matter in a time when the North Korean government is testing ballistic missiles that could reach the continental United States.
What this Tweet makes clear is that a similarity both leaders share is their sensitivity to insults made about their personal attributes whether it involves their appearance or other features. More serious matters — exactly what stance and diplomatic strategy will be taken toward North Korea in the Trump presidency, how human rights violations in the country be addressed, etc. — need to be made a priority. In other words, Trump should not be wasting his time offering his friendship (sarcastically or not) or making childish insults toward the North Korean leader in a time when North Korea poses a huge threat to world security and international human rights.
Trump’s three tactics
Trump seems to get away with a lot of the things he says in his speeches and one of the main reasons behind this besides his obnoxiously confident manner of speech is whataboutism. It is the practice of changing the subject of someone else’s wrongdoing. What’s unique about this method is this tactic was actually a propaganda tool utilized by the Soviets. The problem is that when people use whataboutism, they are basically saying that all actions are equal in how evil they are and thus criticism towards other ¨actions would be hypocritical, leaving people to do whatever they believe is right.
Delegitimizing the media
He seems to utilize the term ‘Fake News’ whenever the media portrays him in a specific way, arguing that the method both the administration and the public uses to voice their opinions, the media, lacks credit.
The most significant tactic Trump seems to use in his speeches and tweets and undoubtedly this particular one is ‘trolling.’ He just called a leader of a nation, whom the world knows can be very easily irked, “short and fat.” Trolling, unfortunately, though listed as a tactic, is more like a child lashing out than a nation’s leader trying to be diplomatic.
Why are these tweets effective?
Social Media, specifically twitter, allows him...
Direct communication to the public without filters via the media
He seems more approachable, the use of twitter humanizes him more than other previous presidential candidates
It’s easier to send his message to the public
The words themselves are easy to read. There is no word beyond three syllables. (this allows even the uneducated to understand his texts)
In light of what is going on around the world, there is no doubt when we say international relations are a priority and tension must be resolved between multiple nations. President Trump must recognize the effects and consequences of his actions — in this case, his tweets.