The former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton specifically takes issue with how Trump uses Twitter to attack people who have criticized him in some way. The heated exchange between Reich and Trump surrogates revolved on how Donald Trump went after Chuck Jones.
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Chuck Jones is president of a Steelworkers union chapter who spoke out against Donald Trump’s claims of having saved 1, 100 jobs at the heating and air-conditioner manufacturer Carrier’s factory in Indiana, pointing out that really only a few hundred jobs were saved and that hundreds will still be lost.
In response, Trump lashed out at Jones tweeting, “Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!”
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) December 8, 2016
Robert Reich spoke out against this and other tweets made by Donald Trump such as the ones in which the President Elect went after Alec Baldwin and Boeing.
When the Trump surrogates on the panel defended him by criticizing the media in general, Robert Reich pointed out that these were not just general attacks but ones made against specific individuals.
“What you, Mr. Trump, what you would like is for no one, not a CEO, no one on television, no journalist, nobody to criticize you” Reich said. “You take offense at that.”
And Reich made the point that now that Donald Trump is going to be the President he must stop using social media as a bully pulpit and that it is unbecoming the office of the Presidency for the holder to behave in such a way.
Looking straight into the camera Robert Reich said to Trump, “Let me just say with all due respect, Mr. Trump, you are president-elect of the United States, you are looking and acting as if you are mean and petty, thin-skinned and vindictive. Stop this.”
This is the start of tyranny. https://t.co/WSBh5YM7pB
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) December 8, 2016
“This is not a fireside chat. This is not what FDR did. This isn’t lifting people up. This is actually penalizing people for speaking their minds.”
“Well, you are going to be president very shortly. You are going to have at your command not just Twitter but also the CIA, the IRS, the FBI. If you have this kind of thin-skinned vindictiveness attitude toward anybody who criticizes you, we are in very deep trouble, and, sir, so are you.”
Donald Trump’s supporters will no doubt dismiss Robert Reich as a Clinton person who clearly is bitter over Hillary Clinton’s defeat. And most of them probably enjoy how Donald Trump lashes out at his enemies on Twitter. However, whatever one thinks of Donald Trump and his comments about Boeing and people like Chuck Jones it is clearly unseemly for the President of the United States to be so petty. Hopefully, once he assumes the office Donald Trump will dump his Twitter account.
What's the real story behind Trump's tweet that Boeing's costs are out of control and its Air Force One order… https://t.co/RAzd91PjTX
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) December 8, 2016
Robert Reich was a lot less diplomatic in what he posted on his blog this week:
“The art of the Trump deal is to use sticks (public criticism) and carrots (public commendation plus government sweeteners) to get big corporations to do what Trump wants them to do.
“This isn’t public policy making. It’s not about changing market incentives. It has nothing to do with lawmaking. It’s a drop in the bucket in terms of jobs.
“In reality, it’s the arbitrary and capricious use of personal power – hitting stock prices and turning public opinion against companies Trump doesn’t like, and raising stock prices and public opinion toward companies Trump does like.
“Don’t be fooled into thinking Trump is being guided by anything other than his own random, autocratic whims. He could have attacked or lauded any one of thousands of big companies that are creating American jobs, or creating jobs abroad, or charging the government too much for their products.
“This is the work of a despot who wants corporate America (and everyone else) to kiss his derriere.”
As a university professor and a scholar, Robert Reich should understand that the use of harsh terms like bully and despot only diminished the strength of his arguments. By resorting to name calling Reich is only playing Donald Trump’s game.