President Donald Trump in January became the White House’s first frequent tweeter — but not before he built himself an archive of spur-of-the-moment statements that tend to contradict his current positions.
A small example, from January 2015: “Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted. We have enuf enemies [sic].”
On Friday, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir was quoted as saying first lady Melania Trump wouldn’t be required to dress conservatively, nor will first daughter Ivanka Trump.
There’s little mystery as to how this works. The credo: That was them, this is me. Or, that was then, this is now.
Typically for a politician, the tone and even substance of the remarks seem to shift depending on who happens to be in his company.
This one wasn’t on Twitter, but was televised: Back in January, he quipped before shaking hands with Comey and patting him on the back like his best bud, “He’s become more famous than me.”
Events led that display of chumminess to evolve into the now-famous Twitter threat: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
And this weekend, it came out that he’d called Comey “a real nut job” to his official Russian guests in the Oval Office.
Back in August 2013, Trump tweeted: “The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria — big mistake if he does not!”
Last month, Trump like his predecessor ordered airstrikes against Syria without getting formal congressional approval, citing leeway under the 1973 War Powers Act.
In 2012, came Obama’s re-election, which led the future leader into electronic spasms about, of all things, the Electoral College. Examples:
“We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!”
“This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!”
“The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”
Four years later, Trump was elected after losing the popular vote. He didn’t complain any more about the electoral college, but did mock those who wished to “march on Washington” to demonstrate against what they considered a travesty.
“Watched protests yesterday but was under impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote?”
So no longer are Saudis insulted over clothing or Comey flattered or the Electoral College bad for democracy. That was then, this is now.