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Obama just took a not-so-veiled swipe at Trump’s Twitter habit

A running guide to Donald Trump's highly abnormal presidency

by VICE News
Dec 27 2017, 2:50pm

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Donald Trump made it clear at the beginning of his campaign that he wasn’t going to follow the normal rules or tone of politics. We’re keeping track of all the ways his presidency veers from the norm in terms of policy and rhetoric.

DAY 342 Dec. 27

Obama just took a not-so-veiled swipe at Trump’s Twitter habit

Barack Obama warned Wednesday that reckless use of social media can spread misinformation and give rise to people living in “entirely different realities” — a possible veiled swipe at Donald Trump.

In his first interview since leaving office in January, Obama told Prince Harry that social media can lead to facts being sidelined and biases reinforced, and those in power should be wary when posting, fearful of corroding civil discourse.

Though Obama didn’t mention his name, Trump is a prolific Twitter user, often posting demonstrable untruths, propaganda and inflammatory content.

"All of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the internet," he told BBC Radio 4’s Today show. “One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases,” he added.

"The question has to do with how do we harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but doesn't lead to a Balkanisation of society and allows ways of finding common ground," he added.

Obama said it is important for people to meet offline and “get to know each other.”

"On the internet everything is simplified,” he said. “When you meet people face to face, it turns out that people are complicated."

On leaving the Oval Office after eight years, Obama said he had "concerns about how the country moves forward but, you know, overall there was serenity there." He did not take the opportunity to directly criticize his successor, despite Trump continuing to voice his condemnation of Obama from the White House.

Harry, guest editing the show, has become friends with the Obamas in recent years through his work with the Invictus games, a sporting event for wounded or injured veterans.

A report earlier this week suggested the Prince wants to invite the Obamas to his London wedding to Meghan Markle next year, however the British government is concerned such a move would upset Trump.

Listen to the full interview here .

— Paul Vale

DAY 341 Dec. 26

Foreign leaders are still waiting for an invite to Trump's first state dinner

After nearly a year in office, President Donald Trump has yet to host a state dinner for a visiting foreign leader. And he’s the first president in nearly a century to skip those hosting duties.

State dinners are typically lavish affairs, meant to cement and celebrate the United States’ relationship with a foreign power. As a candidate, however, Trump denounced such dinners, telling Fox News in 2015 that he wouldn’t throw one for Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"I'd get him a McDonald's hamburger and I'd say we gotta get down to work,” Trump said. (He’d be generous with the burger, though: "I would give him a double, probably a double-size Big Mac," he added.)

Calvin Coolidge was the last president to skip hosting a state dinner in his first year in office, the White House Historical Society told the Associated Press. He had a good excuse, though, since he took office after President Warren G. Harding died of a heart attack. President Barack Obama hosted only one state dinner in his first year in office.

White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Associated Press that there was “no singular reason” why Trump has yet to host a state dinner, and said the administration wants to schedule one in 2018.

Plus, President Trump is still slightly more formal than Candidate Trump. When Xi visited Mar-a-Lago in the spring, Trump didn’t end up just handing him a McDonald’s burger — instead, he gave Xi a slice of the “most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen” as the two men discussed Trump’s decision to bomb Syria on a patio that looked to be within earshot of regular Mar-a-Lago club members.

—Carter Sherman




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