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Dining with Trump
Rep. Lee Zeldin dined with President Donald Trump Tuesday night at the White House along with marquee GOP congressional members such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. Rubio and Cotton serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee and will be questioning former FBI Director James Comey on Thursday.
At Tuesday night’s dinner, Trump discussed his tweeting habits and the value his tweets add to his communications strategy. And Zeldin, the second-term House Republican from Shirley, agrees.
“The President believes strongly that social media presents him with an effective tool to deliver his message,” Zeldin wrote in an email to The Point. “He should continue to use social media and try to do so as effectively as possible. There are ways I believe he can improve the effectiveness of the outreach.”
While Trump thinks his Twitter presence is effective messaging, others in his administration can’t seem to agree on what his tweets are and aren’t.
On Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Trump’s tweeting was not his preferred method of communication with the American people. During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump’s tweets are official statements.
With the confusion surrounding the White House’s official line on Trump’s tweets, attention will be riveted to what the president will do Thursday during Comey’s testimony before the Senate. Even though Trump will be making a speech on infrastructure midway through the hearing, there is plenty of time for tweeting.
And while Zeldin said Thursday’s hearing and the potential for tweeting then didn’t come up at dinner, it wouldn’t be shocking for Trump’s twitter hand to itch and press send.
“It wouldn’t surprise me,” Zeldin wrote.
Stuck in first gear
If you thought the fight by traditional Long Island taxi companies to keep Uber and other ride-hailing companies out of the market was quaintly old-fashioned, you’re going to love the traditional car dealers fighting Tesla.
Tesla doesn’t use independent dealerships to sell its pricey, stylish electric vehicles. The company sells its vehicles through showrooms at a set price that is not open to haggling and does not vary by region.
In 2014, owners of traditional car dealerships in New York persuaded legislators to introduce a bill banning Tesla from selling the cars directly, arguing that independent, competitive dealers enable consumers to shop on price. A compromise on the legislation was reached that let Tesla sell from five facilities in the state, one of which is at the Americana Manhasset shopping center.
Now legislation has been introduced in Albany to triple the number of Tesla sales locations allowed in New York to 15, and it’s a move dealers of other brands will fight.
The attempts by established business models to fight innovation are likely doomed, because they lack merit and imagination. Life is changing so fast that services such as Uber might let most consumers stop owning cars, and some other cooperative ride-sharing app between neighbors might replace Uber. The internet might lead consumers to stop using dealerships to buy cars of any brand. And 3-D printers might have car owners making their own spare parts at home.
They say generals are always fighting the last war rather than the coming one. Business owners, increasingly, seem to be doing the same.
Prime time Twitter
Wednesday is Global Running Day, but some local politicos got off to the races a little early.
First, there was Mayor Bill de Blasio at the gym on Monday morning, despite criticism about his regular and long SUV trip from the Upper East Side to Brooklyn for a workout.
That prompted a cardiovascular-themed tweet from Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president: “An elliptical thinker that has his city on a treadmill . . . working out or out working?“
In response, de Blasio laced up his shoes and hit the road with a fundraising email off Conway’s tweet.
The mayor’s campaign manager asked for $3 donations to help oppose Conway’s attempt to “rally Trump supporters against the mayor.”
He didn’t mention the gym, but flipped the script to his own personal marathon coming this fall: the NYC mayoral election.