Donald Trump's Offensive Tweet About Dwyane Wade & Nykea Aldridge Was Rewritten Twice
On Friday, star NBA shooting guard Dwyane Wade made a tragic announcement on Twitter: his cousin, 32-year-old Nykea Aldridge, was fatally shot while pushing her baby in a stroller in the Parkway Gardens neighborhood of Chicago, an unintended victim of a nearby shootout. Wade, who returned home this summer to play for his hometown Chicago Bulls, tweeted out the news with the hashtag #EnoughisEnough, and the sense of urgency behind it was obvious. But it also caught the eye of a certain presidential candidate, who used it as a campaign tactic. Donald Trump's offensive tweet about Wade and Aldridge was rewritten twice, in an apparent attempt by the real estate magnate or his campaign to clean up the mess when the backlash began.
If you didn't see Trump's response to the news of Aldridge's death, be forewarned, you might find it pretty upsetting. But it's nothing new. It's actually somewhat in keeping with a pattern for the GOP nominee of sending grossly self-congratulatory or self-centered tweets in response to terrorist attacks or high-profile tragedies. Simply put, the guy's a social media loose cannon, and all his worst instincts seem to rise to the forefront when he thinks a horrible piece of breaking news fits into his own campaign's political narrative.
Case in point, the first version of the tweet about Aldridge's death that he sent out on Saturday morning. This version was subsequently deleted, because he couldn't even be bothered to spell Wade's name correctly — it's Dwyane, not Dwayne. Also, he doesn't even bother to name Aldridge, who's actually the victim in all this.
Yes, you read that right. Trump's initial, gut reaction tweet was to make Aldridge's death all about himself, to suggest that somehow a black woman being slain by gun violence means that black Americans are going to rally behind him. Note that there isn't a shred of sympathy, or condolence, or anything like that. No, it's just self-promotion.
Something that's been observed by some political journalists throughout Trump's campaign, especially as his advisers and strategists have changed, is that the truly authentic-sounding Trump tweets tend to be sent from an Android phone, while the tweets that are sent via iPhone tend to sound, well, a little more like a normal presidential candidate with a social media team carefully choosing his words. And while it's impossible to say for sure, as Dave Itzikoff noted on Twitter, that initial Trump tweet was sent from Android, with the second version — identical but for correcting the spelling of Wade's first name — went out from his iPhone. That one is still live on his account, no less inflammatory, even though properly spelled.
And then, finally, someone decided it was necessarily to actually offer some well-wishes to Wade's family. More than four hours after the initial tweet, and more than an hour after the corrected second one, this tweet went out on Trump's official account, soberly offering condolences to Wade and his family.
For what it's worth, as Itzikoff noted, the third tweet came from an iPad — it's not entirely clear how that fits into the unifying theory of which people have access to Trump's account when, but needless to say, the transition from that first tweet to the third one is stark. Because, in simple terms, one sounds like Trump, and even more importantly, reflects many of the same impulses the American public has seen him display over the past several months.
So far, Wade has offered no public response to Trump jumping in on the story. Rather, he's only tweeted about Aldridge, and about the need for "more hands on deck" to help protect the youth of Chicago.