Thursday, Nov. 23 marks Thanksgiving, a familiar, food-and-family stuffed occasion in the United States. But there's at least one thing different this time around from any other Thanksgiving in American history: President Donald Trump is running things right now, and he's not the kind of leader to let you forget he's in charge. In short, for anyone hoping he'd cool it on the social media for at least one day, well, no such luck ― Trump praised himself in a Thanksgiving tweet, rattling off a number of positive claims about the first year of his administration, some of which are quite contestable.
It's no shock that Trump tweeted something on Thanksgiving, seeing as even his predecessor, who seemingly spends a lot less time worrying about his social media presence, himself marked the holiday. But in typical Trump style, a mere "Happy Thanksgiving" would not suffice.
Instead, he stretched Twitter's still relatively new 280 character cap to the limit, including a long list of things he wants and claims credit for. The list included the soaring stock market, the military "getting really strong," the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs "taking care of our veterans," and the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
There are a few things worth noting about Trump's litany of claimed achievements, needless to say. It might feel pedantic to rehash them all on what's hopefully a celebratory Thanksgiving midday, sure, but here are a few observations:
- The stock market is indeed strong, although the extent to which a president can truly claim credit for that is a matter of dispute. Also, throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump derided the strong stock market under former president Barack Obama as a deceptive indicator of economic strength, calling it "all a big bubble."
- The American military outspends every other military on Earth by a staggeringly wide margin, and has in every practical sense been the world's strongest fighting force since long before Trump took office.
- Boasts aside, Trump's border wall has not yet been built, and is barely any closer to becoming a reality than it was prior to his election. In actuality, the most draconian of the Trump administration's actions on immigration is probably the surge of raids and arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), something immigration activists and advocates have been fighting to raise awareness about.
- The nomination and appointment of Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch, while lauded by conservatives, could have been accomplished with minimal effort by literally any Republican president. Given that the Republicans controlled the Senate by two votes, and abolished the judicial filibuster, the work on Trump's part was effectively as simple as plucking a name out of a hat, and letting the confirmation process play itself out.
- The unemployment rate is indeed low by relative standards, continuing a trajectory achieved by the Obama administration. During the campaign, Trump attacked Obama over the dwindling unemployment rate, falsely insisting the true unemployment rate was something like 42 percent.
In short, as self-promotional presidential tweets wrapped up in holiday niceties go, this one may have gone a little overboard. It wasn't the only thing Trump tweeted early on Thanksgiving morning, however.
He also posted a video of his Thanksgiving address, and responded to an article critical of his feuds with prominent black Americans, by Greg Sargent of The Washington Post, with the all-caps proclamation "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
Tweets aside, it's been a big day for Trump at the White House. He also presided over the official, ceremonial turkey pardon at the White House, a presidential tradition dating back decades. While it's unclear whether he'll be sending out any other bombastic Thanksgiving tweets, it's virtually assured that they'll grab some attention if he does.