PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — So @realDonaldTrump doesn’t tweet about the Olympics it seems, just like he didn’t during the Summer Games in Rio in 2016.
And you can see why. What the public might see as a global sports extravaganza, President Trump might rightly view as a minefield ready to explode in a way that would do more damage than ruffling that famous haircut.
Had he decided to add to the generic opening ceremony tweet he sent out on Feb. 7 in any of his 27 messages since, what might he have said?
Trump could have praised Shaun White for winning a third career gold medal, only for it to spark a renewed #metoo discussion amid reports resurfacing of a settled sexual harassment claim lodged against White.
Would Trump have addressed Shani Davis’ complaint about the method of choosing the American flag bearer, a thorny topic at best, with limited information to go on due to Davis’ reticence to talk publicly? Might he have shared his thoughts on openly gay figure skater Adam Rippon, who got into a spat with Vice President Pence? Rippon certainly has opinions about the current regime.
Prior to the last election, Trump’s support grew on the back of the idea that modern America was fundamentally flawed and drastically needed fixing. Perhaps that is why he fell silent during Rio too.
The narrative of America being broken loses a little steam when the prevailing images to come out of an event are naturally those of success and patriotic celebration.
The Olympics are so addictive to so many because, for the most part, they are a reminder of positive things, with NBC’s television coverage in particular designed to create a feel-good glow. When clusters of gold medals rain in, it kind of feels like America is great already.
So then, if we are to assume that Trump’s Olympic tweeting absence continues and that there won’t be any social media salvos about the Games, then what about a presidential visit over here?
Sure, Pence’s ineffectual trip has come and gone, but even Trump’s fiercest critics would have to admit that turning up towards the end of the Olympics would be an extraordinary power play on his part.
Heading to what is essentially the doorstep of Kim Jong Un’s hermetic kingdom would create a flood of attention. While Pence got overshadowed by the more dynamic presence of Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong and especially the “army of beauties” cheer squad dispatched south of the border, that kind of thing doesn’t happen to Trump.
He would stand front and center of the spotlight and there is a level of curious fascination with him in South Korea, just like in many other parts of the world. Furthermore, what would say more clearly to Kim that the U.S. is unafraid of his nuclear arsenal and ruthless dictatorship than appearing in person in Pyeongchang?
Let’s be clear here, there is no chance of it happening. The Trump sighting that we had at the opening ceremony – an impersonator posing alongside a friend dressed up as Kim – is as close as we are going to get.
With no @realDonaldTrump and no real Donald Trump here either, it makes you wonder if the fact that the Olympics is taking place at all is #FakeNews.
And on that topic, what has Trump been tweeting about recently?
Well, there have been posts about budget deals, condolences for fallen police officers, notes on jobless claims, a memo on the Russia investigation and comment about an aide ousted for accusations of sexual misconduct.
For a long while Trump wanted Colin Kaepernick and other protesting members of the NFL to stick to sports. Maybe, finally, he is sticking to politics.