President Trump chose to remain silent during, perhaps, the greatest media spectacle of his young presidency. His Twitter feed, largely anticipated to be active throughout former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, sat untouched.
But on Friday morning, the president could not resist weighing in. Shortly after 5:00 a.m., Trump tweeted, "Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!"
He must leave it at that.
The feud between Trump and Comey is now mostly personal, with one of the most interesting revelations from the former FBI director's testimony being that he so distrusted Trump, he kept detailed notes of their interactions in case they were later misrepresented. It would not benefit the president to wade further into that battle.
Trump's response, which came impressively late, did not tread into personal territory. By claiming "total and complete vindication" from the hearing, Trump also wisely set the narrative for media coverage.
If he was going to tweet, this is about as palatable as could be expected from him.
No, it's not ideal to have the president tweeting at 5 in the morning all-caps messages about an FBI director that he fired. But Trump's restraint in this case — waiting nearly a full day before offering his opinion and remaining brief in doing so — will serve him better than have past tweets.
As the fallout from the hearing continues to roil the press, the temptation to mix it up on Twitter may be strong for this embattled president. But Trump should let well enough alone, at least giving people the impression that he is above the drama. He is, after all, the leader of the free world.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.