O-Pinion

Trump’s Twitter attack on Indiana union leader should trouble his voters

President-elect Donald Trump speaks at Carrier Corp. Thursday, Dec. 1 in Indianapolis.
President-elect Donald Trump speaks at Carrier Corp. Thursday, Dec. 1 in Indianapolis. AP

Melania Trump said she wants to make the fight against cyber-bullying her First Lady thing.

Forget lecturing America about it. If she can just rein in her Twitter-obsessed husband, all of America will thank her.

Trump’s Twitter-feud of the moment doesn’t single out a rich corporation like Boeing or a public policy issue like climate change. No, the soon-to-be 45th president of these United States took to Twitter on Wednesday night to tear into a little-known average Joe named Chuck. As in Chuck Jones, head of Indiana’s United Steelworkers Local 1999, the union that has been fighting to keep Carrier from sending jobs at its Indiana facilities to Mexico.

Jones appeared on CNN Wednesday and thanked Trump for saving some Carrier jobs, but he also accused Trump of overstating the number of jobs saved. Jones said Trump had taken credit for saving 350 engineering jobs that were never slated to depart, and that at the end of the day, more than 500 union members were still losing their jobs.

Which prompted the president-elect to respond this way:

And this way:

This is not OK. A president should never attack individual citizens in such a brutally personal fashion. Especially not a president-elect whose backers are as feverishly loyal as Trump’s.

Jones’ flip phone promptly lit up with harassing calls and threats from people hinting darkly about his safety and the safety of his family.

This is just crazy. Stick-your-tongue-on-a-frozen-flagpole crazy. Is this really what it’s going to be like? Anybody who gets under Trump’s notoriously thin skin gets publicly trashed on Twitter and set upon by swarms of angry Trumpites?

I certainly didn’t vote for Trump. But there are lots of sane, well-educated folks who say they did. If you’re one, then it’s on you to help your candidate understand what will and won’t be tolerated as president. Personal attacks on average Joes should be one of those boundaries.

You, dear Trump voter, installed this bull in the china shop. I accept that he’s going to break some dishes. Some of them, frankly, need to be broken.

But it seems clear from this ill-considered tweetstorm that his lack of impulse control means he’s also going to break plenty of dishes he shouldn’t – perhaps with consequences far more serious than angry voicemails for an obscure union leader.

If you’re concerned, let Trump know. Heck, tweet him. If you’re not, then please spare your kids any speeches against bullying. You’ll be a hypocrite – and knowing kids these days, they’ll probably tell you so.

  Comments