It's impossible to defend the Trump family's use of Twitter.
Their frequent off-the-cuff remarks on the popular social media platform have in recent months created enormous headaches for their supporters, and no amount of glossy rhetoric about "communicating directly with the people" can outweigh the fact that the Trumps are constantly handing their critics and enemies ammunition. They are under intense scrutiny, and thoughtless and glib remarks can have real consequences. Few in the first family seem to understand this.
Donald Trump Jr., for example, did his team no favors Wednesday morning when he waded blindly into the controversy alleging the president of the United States tried to influence an ongoing federal investigation of the 2016 election.
President Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey in February to drop the bureau's investigation of ousted national security adviser Mike Flynn, according to the New York Times.
"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go," the president is reported to have said.
The Times' scoop is based entirely on a memo Comey allegedly wrote following his February meeting with the president. It's worth noting that the story's author disclosed he hadn't actually seen the memo. Rather, the Times reporter wrote, an anonymous Comey official read parts of it to him.
The point here is that the story is not a certain fact, and there's a lot that has yet to be proved. This isn't to suggest either side is lying. Rather, it's to suggest that neither side has proved or disproved the Times' coverage.
Enter Donald Trump Jr.
Fox News' Geraldo Rivera tweeted Wednesday morning, "News Flash, @realDonaldTrump hoping @JamesComeyFBI cuts @MikeFlynn some slack because he is a 'good man' is not close to #Obstruction."
Trump Jr. responded with a simple reply, "Truth."
Did he just confirm the Times' story? Rivera accurately characterized the report. Is Trump Jr. suggesting here that the story correctly conveys the facts of the matter? If the Comey memo story is false, why respond with anything short of the worn out "fake news" battle cry? Anything short of a full denial would suggest there's some truth to the Times report. Or are the Trump's adopting the line that the Times report is accurate and that there's nothing wrong with what the president allegedly requested? How would Donald Trump Jr., who oversees the president's vast business empire, even know what's going on in the White House? He and his father have said on more than one occasion that they're not in communication. Or are they?
Did Trump Jr. consider any of these questions before spouting off on Twitter Wednesday morning?
Probably not, which is just another example of why it has become impossible to defend the first family's social media habits.