It doesn't officially come with the job, but every president from Franklin Delano Roosevelt on has lent his name to a presidential library upon leaving office. On June 16, The Daily Show opened for a very limited time a curated a pop-up exhibit of what they imagine President Trump's literary legacy might look like — all of the entries, of course, are 140 characters or less. It was highly Instagrammed by frustrated Democrats and comedy fans for the few days it was open. But when I speak to him at the Presidential Twitter Library exhibit, The Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper tells me that, if he had the power, he'd still take away Trump's ability to tweet.
"I think he is so loose with his language, I think that is dangerous," Klepper explains. "I would hope he would take that need to communicate his thoughts and it would force him to then go have a press conference and/or to sit and think about those thoughts, and talk about them with other people and then deliver them."
Since the president uses his personal Twitter account with the nonchalance and speed of people with much, much less international sway, his tweets are shocking and easy to ridicule, but they also have potentially huge consequences. And those consequences trump (had to) the catharsis of watching his meltdowns in real time.
"Immediacy is great when everybody wants to talk about the Emmys," Klepper continues, "Less great when you want to talk about North Korea."
While some may hope that Trump contributes to his own further discreditation or even potentially prompt his own impeachment with his tweets, The Daily Show correspondent would rather Trump not have the tools to broadcast his opinions at will. The world would be a happier place, in his opinion — all except for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
"He would have the saddest White House interns ever. He probably already does. They would just be inundated with his constant ramblings," says Klepper, envisioning a reality without the @DonaldJTrump account. "I think he also might just be an old man yelling at his television, which he still is. But he yells at it and then he puts it into tweet form. Sadly he has that outlet, and now he also has the power to affect things with that outlet."
The Presidential Twitter Library is no longer open to the public, a hop, skip, and a jump from Trump Tower. But you can virtually tour the space on Comedy Central's website. It's organized into categories like, "Trump Vs. Trump," wherein the president seems at odds with his own past statements; "Trumpsradamus," where he makes predictions; and "Verified Survivors," or other influential people the president has blocked.
There's a stunning dichotomy in the exhibit's implications: first, that this president is communicating with the world in a petty, angry way that most never thought possible for the office; and second, that his timeline is now a part of American history. So what does Klepper think future Americans will make of it?
"Boy, if America is still around in 50 or 100 years, that’s a good sign," he laughs, ruefully. "I do think this is the new way of the world. We’ll look back at this as the beginning of a more casual relationship with the presidency. Whether or not that’s good, I don’t fully know. But I do think it won’t be so abnormal 100 years from now."
For as democratic and universal as the Twitter platform is meant to be, Klepper would prefer it if the president had some online adult supervision.