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Donald Trump texts now. LOL.
But, seriously, this could be bad for him.
This, from the New York Times, is a wow:
Mr. Trump, 76, who is heading into his third presidential campaign and is still under scrutiny by investigators on multiple fronts, has at last become a texter, according to three people with knowledge of his new habit. His messages have recently shown up in the phones of surprised recipients, they said.
Trump’s change of heart is a break with a long tradition of him being a total and complete Luddite. Trump has proudly and loudly proclaimed for decades that he doesn’t really use any technology.
"Since at least January 1, 2010, it has been my customary practice to not communicate via e-mail, text message, or other digital methods of communication," he said in a 2022 affidavit.
Back in 2016, Trump spoke out against….the computer.
“I think the computers have complicated lives very greatly,” he said at the time. “The whole, you know, age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on. We have speed and we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure you have the kind of security you need.”
(By the way, he’s not wrong! Especially on the security front!)
And he’s long been skeptical about email.
In 2007, Trump said “I don’t do the email thing.” In 2013, he said this about electronic mail: “Very rarely, but I use it.”
And, on the campaign trail in 2016, Trump again referenced his disdain for email.
“I’m not an email person,” Trump said in the same press conference in which he called on Russia to uncover Hillary Clinton’s emails. “I don’t believe in it because I think it can be hacked, for one thing. But when I send an email — if I send one — I send one almost never. I’m just not a believer in email.”
Trump’s disdain for electronic communication of any sort isn’t just born of personal dislike. He also sees it as a way to protect himself and his interests.
“I go to court and they say produce your emails,” Trump recounted in 2016. “I say I don’t have any emails. The judges don’t even believe it…After you win the case, they say, ‘Now I know that you’re really smart.’”
And, as the Times story noted: “The former president’s resistance to texting frustrated investigators for the House Jan. 6 committee as they tried to track his thoughts and actions when he worked to overturn the 2020 election.”
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All of which makes it very interesting that Trump has taken up texting. Very.
Now, according to the Times, Trump is using texts to send decidedly mundane messages. To wit:
“Friends, confidants and even people not especially close to Mr. Trump began receiving text messages from his cellphone, most of them described as innocuous, such as new year greetings or political observations.”
Which makes sense. Trump is about the same age as my mom. And my mom uses text to wish me a good day or to check in on the kids. It’s sweet. But it’s not the sort of stuff that gets anyone in legal trouble.
The difference between my mom and Donald Trump is that the latter tends to run his mouth. A lot. If that trait translates into his typing fingers, look out.
And people close to Trump are worried about that very fact. "The fact that Mr. Trump is now sending texts has caused alarm among some of his associates, who are concerned about what he might say,” reports the Times.
To be honest, I’ve always sort of admired Trump’s utter aversion to technology and old school, talk-on-the-phone approach to doing business. (As someone who would rather have my toenails pulled out rather than talk on the phone, I respect the talking gene I lack.)
And there’s no question that Trump’s leave-no-trace approach to doing business has kept him out of trouble (or out of more trouble) because there’s just no paper trail to be followed.
Which is why Trump’s decision to start texting now — amid a series of legal entanglements and on the precipice of a 3rd presidential bid — is utterly baffling to me.
Why risk it?