President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly rolling back on yet another promise. But while his decision not to pursue charges against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton may have shocked many of his supporters, this flip comes as no surprise. Despite an earlier promise to be more restrained in his use of social media, Trump will "absolutely" continue to use Twitter to push his message and issue announcements on policy directives, according to incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
"I think it freaks the mainstream media out that he has this following of over 45-plus million people that follow him on social media, that he can have a direct conversation," Spicer said Sunday in an interview on ABC's This Week. "He doesn't have to have it funnel through the media."
Shortly after his election win, Trump told CBS' 60 Minutes he was planning to rethink his social media habits now that he was headed to the White House. Trump even went so far as to suggest his Twitter account might not survive the transition. "I'm going to be very restrained. If I use it at all, I'm going to be very restrained," he had said.
In the weeks that followed, however, Trump continued to use Twitter to criticize American businesses, rebuke his predecessor, weigh in on foreign policy, threaten the United Nations, and hint at upending decades-old U.S. policies. Trump's incoming press secretary claimed Sunday the president-elect's decision to continue using Twitter and other social media networks as major communication tools boiled down to one simple reason. "The fact of the matter is when he tweets, he gets results," Spicer said.
Although President Barack Obama is credited with bringing the White House into the Twittershpere, it's unclear how the incoming administration will handle Trump's unorthodox tweeting style. While Obama has used the @POTUS Twitter account to connect directly with Americans and reiterate his support for new policy initiatives, Trump has used his various social media accounts to issue baseless claims, pick fights, and lash out at critics and reporters.
In the wake of Trump's tweets on China, for example, some have begun to question whether Trump's Twitter is a foreign policy disaster waiting to happen. Others have expressed concerns about Trump's penchant for using social media to circumvent traditional fact checking by the news media to push his own version of the truth to his followers.
But not everyone is a critic. Newt Gingrich, who has previously described Trump's Twitter strategy as "brilliant," recently told the Wall Street Journal to plan on continuing to cover Trump's every tweet when he takes the Oath of Office on Jan. 20. "My advice is to relax," he said. "It's going to be this way for eight years."