Americans across the country rang in the new year in the usual way—by kissing their loved ones, partying with friends, watching the Times Square ball drop on television.
President Donald Trump, on the other hand, started off 2019 by urging the nation to “JUST CALM DOWN.”
This all-caps presidential exhortation, delivered to some 56.8 million Twitter followers and, by extension, the country at large, was of a piece with Trump’s tweeted musings for the duration of the holiday period. For a commander in chief who had planned to spend some relative downtime playing golf and mingling with his well-heeled friends at Mar-a-Lago, it was, apparently, a decidedly unrelaxed holiday. With the exception of a long-haul flight for a brief visit with U.S. troops in Iraq, Trump was holed up in the White House for the past 10 days as he presided over a partial government shutdown.
So he brooded, he berated, he watched TV, and he tweeted.
In all, the president sent 75 tweets between Christmas Eve and 9 a.m. eastern on Wednesday morning, and they ran the gamut: from cheery holiday messages (“Enjoy yourselves!” he said in one New Year’s video filmed on the White House lawn), to updates on foreign policy, commentary on lower gas prices, a rebuttal to comments from his departing chief of staff, and the rueful lament of the world’s most powerful man “all alone” on the day before Christmas. There were angry lashings at the Democrats for refusing him his border wall, familiar complaints about the Robert Mueller “Witch Hunt Hoax,” and ripostes at two prominent critics, Senator-to-be Mitt Romney and Stanley McChrystal, the retired four-star general who commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.