There was no way, really, that thin-skinned president-elect Donald Trump was going to respond to Meryl Streep's anti-Trump Golden Globes speech in any way that could possibly be called "presidential." Streep used her acceptance speech for her lifetime achievement Golden Globe as a platform to decry Trump for mocking a disabled reporter — something Trump himself has repeatedly denied, although it is on video.
He initially gave a brief statement to the New York Times in which he said he had not seen the broadcast, but was unsurprised to have come under "attack from 'liberal movie people.'" And then, the next morning, with all the regularity of Old Faithful geyser (or, more aptly, of menstrual cramps), Trump began his inevitable wounded early morning Tweetstorm.
"Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood," began Trump's emotional response to the Golden Globes, "doesn't know me but attacked me last night at the Golden Globes."
Where to begin? The unpresidented problem of having a future commander-in-chief who is apparently unwilling or unable to use spell check? (There's no hyphen in "overrated," a mistake understandable for a regular citizen on Twitter, but not, I'd argue, for someone about to have the nuclear launch codes.)
Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never "mocked" a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him.......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
"groveling" when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
As usual, many of Trump's Twitter supporters had his back. "These Hollywood elites wouldn't know average, every day [sic] hardworking Americans if we bit them in the ass," wrote conservative commentator Tomi Lahren, also an enthusiastic supporter of the presidential candidacy of a reality television star and millionaire.
Trump also denies that he was mocking the disabled reporter, despite the video of the incident that appears to show exactly that.
It's far from the first time Trump has done something vulgar with microphones recording, but both the video and his Monday morning tweets indicate that his promised "presidential attitude" is about as likely as Mexico paying for a wall on the U.S. border.
Of course, every time Trump insults someone or something on Twitter, Americans must grapple with how much attention should be paid to it. On one hand, yes, we should avoid being distracted from major issues like congressional Republicans attempting to confirm Trump's Cabinet picks without the appropriate ethics vetting. But on the other hand, it is a real and concerning problem that the president-elect of the United States uses social media like a preteen cyberbully.
Please let Donald Trump be stupid enough to tweet "Meryl Streep is overrated."— Warren Holstein (@WarrenHolstein) January 9, 2017
Many of his 19.2 million followers believe what he says — so when the president-elect arbitrarily rejects significant things like "Trump lost the popular vote" and "Russian hacking was intended to influence the election in Trump's favor," he convinces other Americans to join him in rejecting the truth.
Moreover, all of the president's public communications are relevant to diplomacy. When Trump impulsively posts criticisms of a foreign leader or foreign country, he creates the impression that his belief is reflective of his administration as a whole. A tweet from the president is still a public statement from the head of state — and the childish way in which Trump expresses himself online will have real diplomatic consequences for the United States.