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President Trump took to Twitter in an attempt to get his travel ban on six Muslim countries reviewed by the Supreme Court as soon as possible. USA TODAY

President Trump(Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)

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President Trump’s tweets prove that the Founders were right: The president should not communicate directly with the American people.

Curiously, many of the people who complained about President Obama’s loquacity think Trump’s tweets are just grand. Twitter allows him to “communicate directly with the people,” they say, as if that’s a good thing.

Donald Trump is one of them. “The FAKE MSM is working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out, ” he tweeted, “If I would have relied on the Fake News … I would have had ZERO chance winning WH.”

Which is the problem. Direct communication with “the people” serves the interests of demagogues. It’s how they lie so effectively. Communicating through various channels — elected representatives, the traditional (i.e. responsible) media, labor and business leaders — allows the truth to percolate via a self-correcting system of fact-checking and bias-balancing.

The Founders didn’t want the president to make direct appeals to the people, and for a while presidents rarely did. George Washington averaged three popular speeches a year; John Adams, one; James Madison, zero. I don’t know how many tweets Trump averages per day, but I know it’s more than zero, which is too many. To paraphrase George Will, there is in Trump an inverse relationship between the confidence he has in tweeting his thoughts and the care he takes in forming them.

Trump’s tweets are not to be mistaken for facts. On Monday, The Associated Press reported — note the absence of ironic quotation marks — that “President Donald Trump can’t be counted on to give accurate information to Americans when violent acts are unfolding abroad.” This sentence should have ended after “information.”

When the president's native tongue is Gibberish: Windsor Mann

Government is not Papa John's: Windsor Mann

The president uses Twitter to troll private citizens, shame private enterprises, promote himself and his family, and peddle lies and conspiracy theories — misspelling and even inventing words in the process. Every time he logs into Twitter, he embarrasses himself and the country.

Following the recent terrorist attack in London, Trump, after talking trash about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, tweeted trash about London’s mayor. If he wants to criticize the mayor, fine. But he should do so privately, not on the Internet for the world to see.

Trump and his supporters have the most to lose from his tweets. The easiest way to rebut him is to retweet his old tweets, which are a mélange of contradictory and incriminating statements. The ACLU just announced that it might use Trump’s tweets about his travel ban in its Supreme Court argument against the ban. Trump undermines his policies by tweeting about them.

Twitter’s 140-character limit enables Trump to express himself in outbursts, not methodically. What his tweets lack in logic they make up for with exclamation marks, capitalized words and words that don’t exist. This is not a mature form of communication.

Trump is not a mature person. When Jonah Goldberg accused him in 2015 of “tweeting like a 14-year-old girl,” the columnist was being overgenerous to Trump and insulting to 14-year-old girls. Fourteen-year-old girls, based on my experience in the 1990s, possess more self-control than Trump does; moreover, they are restrained by the disapproval of their parents and the ridicule of their peers. Trump, lacking parents and any discernible sense of shame, is unencumbered by such restraints.

His tweets are gratuitously divisive. On the topic of race, Trump tweeted in 2014: “Sadly, because president Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won’t see another black president for generations!” To be sure, this was before Trump was president, but anyone who tweets such toxic piffle should not be trusted with a Twitter account as president.

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The point of political communication in a democracy is to foster deliberation. Trump has exhibited no interest in or capacity for deliberation, which requires thinking, patience and consultation with others. He provokes rather than ponders, and it is no surprise that our politics have become more incendiary and less reasoned since he entered office.

Reading Trump’s tweets is a guilty pleasure that we should feel guilty about. It does us no good apart from confirming what we already know about him — namely, that he is unstable, petty, incoherent, egocentric, emotional, impulsive, incurious, self-pitying, manipulative, vindictive and a bunch of other negative adjectives. Do we really need to see further evidence of his bad personality traits?

Trump says he wants to make America great again. I have no idea when America was last great, but I’m pretty sure it was before Trump started using Twitter.

Windsor Mann is the editor of The Quotable Hitchens: From Alcohol to Zionism. Harass him on Twitter @WindsorMann.

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