President-Elect Trump and Presidents Clinton and Obama all tweeted “Happy New Year” greetings in the last couple of days. Trump’s tweet went out about 8:30 AM EST on December 31, 2016. President Clinton tweeted about 24 hours later, on Jan. 1, 2017, and President Obama tweeted his greeting at noon, also on New Year’s Day.
Let’s compare the tweets.
President Clinton’s tweet: “Happy New Year — 2017 & beyond will be bright if we use our imagination, passion & skills to lift each other up & make all our lives stronger.”
President Obama’s tweet: “It’s been the privilege of my life to serve as your President. I look forward to standing with you as a citizen. Happy New Year everybody.”
President-Elect Trump’s tweet: “Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”
Which one of these is not like the others?
The answer is clear. Both the current and former presidential messages were straightforward and positive in both tone and intent. President Clinton looked forward, referring to people using our talents and skills to improve the lives of everyone. President Obama thanked recipients for allowing him to serve as President and looked forward as well, indicating that he has a positive viewpoint toward his future role as a former President. Neither Clinton nor Obama referred to specific groups, but kept their messages directed to everyone.
On the other hand, Trump’s message was dramatically different from the other two. His tweet was insulting, insincere and snarky, referring to “all,” but specifically calling out his “many enemies.” He gloated, pointing out that he won and others lost (winning — or more important, not losing — is very important to Trump), and he described those who lost as losing “so badly that they just don’t know what to do.”
That last part of Trump’s tweet is both inaccurate and dishonest. The losers he refers to did not lose “badly.” In fact, Trump barely won the election through the Electoral College: he won with 306 EC votes, fewer EC votes than any other winner since 1980, except for President George W. Bush, who won with 271 votes in the 2000 election and 286 in 2004. Trump also lost the popular vote in 2016 to Secretary Hillary Clinton by more than 2.8 million votes — that’s about 52% of the population who voted in the election. Trump also falsely claims or assumes that his “enemies” and others who “fought against me and lost” have not decided how they will act after Trump’s narrow win of the Presidential election in 2016. Many people who have opposed Trump’s election to the presidency have determined and publicly vowed that they will resist his policy proposals, and work to oppose all of his actions once he takes office.
Trump’s message is very revealing of his true nature. Despite his saying in previous speeches and comments that he will “unite” the diverse electorate, those who supported him and those who opposed him, there is nothing unifying about his message, as it contains inaccurate information, makes an imaginative claim about people who oppose him, and contains no forward-looking references at all. His last word, “Love!” is so deeply ironic, coming after his insulting first sentence, that it cannot be taken seriously or sincerely.