After more than four years of lies, nuclear threats, market manipulation, bullying, and bullshit, all it took for Twitter to boot Donald Trump was a video in which the president called his supporters “very special” after they’d ransacked the Capitol. They initially banned him for 24 hours, but soon enough, his suspension was permanent. In a blink, the man who posted his way to and through the presidency was gone.
Twitter’s been better ever since.
Trump’s tweets weren’t just taxing, they were dangerous. It turns out the most powerful person on earth—who also happens to be an emotional toddler—having a place to voice his unfettered thoughts isn’t necessarily a good thing. Trump harnessed the medium to circumvent media coverage and speak directly to his supporters and the American people, a fact he boasted about. But when your idea of circumventing the media involves peddling conspiracies and openly denying facts, it gets messy quick. Twitter itself seemed to go through several existential crises about Trump’s blatant lying before finally slapping fact checks on his tweets last year, ramping up the effort during election season. The imminent doom of waiting for Trump to react to something on Twitter is now gone, and with it the fear that he might create international conflict, incite a domestic riot, or just bark nonsensically about some random bullshit.
It’s not just the danger of Trump’s words that are gone, though—it’s also their centripetal force. Entire news cycles revolved around Trump’s Twitter feed, and that’s exactly what he wanted. Any given tweet could become a news story, fodder for an op-ed, or worse a smarmy tweet thread about how whatever he just said is the worst thing in the history of humanity because he’s Donald Trump. Reply guys like Jeff Tiedrich and the Krassenstein brothers would flock to his every post, clowning him for being a loser and a failure and a tax cheat and a draft dodger and a million other insults that are all true but after awhile just don’t hit with any force. Blogs about his bad tweets and what they mean—including those by yours truly, this post notwithstanding—are gone too.
That’s not to say we don’t miss some of Trump’s tweets. Before winning the presidency he was a hall of fame-level poster, making fun of celebrities, offering relationship advice to others, and musing about Coke. They were (mostly) the dumb meditations of a Fox News boomer grandpa, even if they were a little dark and conspiracy-minded. For all the bad he’s done with the platform, he left behind a several universal bangers that hearken back to a simpler, ever so slightly less stupid time.
“They cannot help the fact that they were born fucked up!” pic.twitter.com/urqRCjipfP
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) August 22, 2016
There’s little irony in the fact that Twitter finally summoned the gumption to ban Trump right before a new Democratic administration took power—still, a good thing is a good thing. Trump lives on through the personalities and politicians he created—wannabes like Ted Cruz will try forever to imitate his bravado, while kooks like Marjorie Taylor Greene carry on his conspiratorial spirit. Not having Trump as their centralizing force, their alpha and omega, has dried out conservative dreck considerably. Now it’s all talk about unity and bipartisanship while liberals plead about giving Biden time and leftists fight amongst themselves about $2,000 checks and floor votes. Not much changes even when everything does. But it sure is funny thinking about how badly Trump wants to tweet about some garbage about Tom Brady making the Super Bowl or how McDonald’s introducing plant based meat is a disgrace, only to look to sadly look at his phone and pout.