Like most people, I just assume Donald Trump’s social media strategy involves sprinkling Adderall on a pile of Quarter Pounders then letting that tag team with the dementia to transcribe Fox & Friends into tapioca pudding for crazies. And that’s probably being too generous.
So I was very surprised to learn that some asshole named Justin McConney actually taught Trump to tweet, and after leaving the Trump Foundation, he’s finally talking about the experience.
“The moment I found out Trump could tweet himself was comparable to the moment in ‘Jurassic Park’ when Dr. Grant realized that velociraptors could open doors,” recalled McConney, who was the Trump Organization’s director of social media from 2011 to 2017. “I was like, ‘Oh no.’”
And while that’s an ominous sounding quote that certainly got me pumped to hear a remorseful tale of how a lowly social media manager essentially burnt America to the goddamn ground by mainlining a racist egomaniac onto the internet, McConney doesn’t seem to fully appreciate the gravity of how hard he’s boned all of us. Just boned us so hard.
Nevertheless, it is an interesting tale even if you know everyone dies in the end. And it all started in 2011 when McConney put together a montage video of Trump set to rock music, which his new boss loved so much that he demanded McConney come to his office so they could figure out a way to put it on the Golf Channel. From there, McConney steered the conversation to social media, which Trump knew nothing about but wanted in.
So if you have a time machine, this is when you go back and stop Baby Twitler.
Working out of the Trump Organization’s lunchroom — the company did not know where else to put him — McConney began extolling the Internet’s virtues to Trump and his family. And he argued that Trump should transfer his freewheeling approach to the world’s most unregulated public arena.
“I wanted the Donald Trump who is on Howard Stern, commenting on anything and everything,” he said.
In fairness to McConney, it was 2011, and no one could’ve possibly predicted the apocalyptic outcome of trying to turn Trump into BroBible back then. I mean, Christ, Trump’s first social media hit was a video on why he eats pizza with a fork and knife. We’re talking Kardashian-level junk content that America readily swallows… oh god, the signs were all there. Sonofabitch.
After getting a taste of that sweet digital dopamine, the gropey bullfrog-kumquat hybrid was hooked, and McConney became his unwitting dealer who found his entire life consumed by Trump’s Twitter obsession.
One call came on the Sunday before Memorial Day when McConney was at a Wegman’s in New Jersey.
“George Will just hit me on TV. I have to hit back,” Trump roared after the conservative commentator had appeared on ABC’s “This Week.” “Write this down and tweet it out immediately,” he instructed.
Trump would call McConney on a Saturday to order up a tweet — then linger on the line for 20 minutes as others popped into his head, with Melania offering thoughts in the background. “‘Dude,’ I’m thinking in my head, ‘It’s the weekend,’” McConney recalled.
But then things went off the rails. The sex robots had samurai swords or whatever the hell happened in season two of Westworld. I honestly haven’t watched. Is it good? I heard mixed things.
The shackles were now totally off. In 2013, he tweeted more than 8,000 times. From time to time, McConney would advise against individual tweets Trump proposed sending. Often, he would walk away from a conversation believing Trump had been dissuaded, only to see the tweet appear online 10 minutes later.
That month, Trump live-tweeted the Oscars from his phone, offering thoughts like, “Django Unchained is the most racist movie I have ever seen, it sucked!”
Despite Trump’s racism becoming more and more apparent in his tweets, McConney continued to stick around until he was pushed to the side during the presidential campaign when Trump began favoring Dan Scavino. However, McConney seems to be deliberately obtuse about the monster he’s created and offers very little criticism about the current state of the president’s Twitter account, which is batshit f**king insane.
Instead, McConney thinks all of Trump’s problems can be solved by… let’s see here… switching to Instagram. Yup, that’s clearly the issue here.
“He needs to return to engaging directly with his fans again,” advised McConney, now a social media consultant, who said Trump should look beyond Twitter and pay more attention to other platforms. The president’s Instagram account has become particularly bland and impersonal, he warned, and he wondered why Trump had not been using the platform’s popular “Stories” function, which other politicians — including Trump’s potential 2020 Democratic rival Beto O’Rourke — have used to great effect.
“He should be live streaming from the Oval Office,” McConney said.
And, oh wait, here comes something that ever so slightly brushes against the President of the United States destroying democracy 280 characters at a time.
He also advised that Trump — whose Twitter feed is now dominated by angry rants about the “fake news” media and special counsel Robert Mueller’s “WITCH HUNT!” — lighten up.
Trump, he said, “should go back to having more of a sense of humor about himself.”
Ah, yes, America is on fire, and our government is up to its neck-fat in Russian collusion, but where are the lulz, you guys? Where are the lulz?
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