While You Were Offline: Do Trump’s Retweets Equal Endorsements?

First off, let's start with a simple message that is particularly meaningful this week. And really, all weeks. Click here, then come right back. Now please take a moment to consider that Jimmy Kimmel is in a Twitter war with Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore, because that’s something that happens in the real world now. Happy holidays, everyone! Oh, and maybe you want to see what’s happening online, for some reason. That's below. We promise there's a relatively happy ending this time around.

Twitter Governance, Part 1

What Happened: Forget fiddling while Rome burns, it might be time to update the saying to "tweeting while America heads towards a federal shutdown because of a lack of funds.”

What Really Happened: At the start of the week, political voyeurs in Washington were already thinking about the possibility of a government shutdown, but were heartened by the fact that a deal to avert such a thing was already in the works, with President Trump set to sit down with the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate to hash out the details. Previously, it seemed to work out, but this time? Not so much. And it’s all because of Twitter.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/935513049729028096

In response to Trump’s pre-emptive strike, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi issued a few tweets of her own.

https://twitter.com/NancyPelosi/status/935547402278395910

https://twitter.com/NancyPelosi/status/935547614858240000

https://twitter.com/NancyPelosi/status/935547804277145600

And, just like that, the meeting was off. That wasn’t exactly what Trump had hoped for, which led to some speedy spin from the White House.

https://twitter.com/dsupervilleap/status/935568714904293377

https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/935568790934425600

Meanwhile, some were already suggesting that Trump essentially removing himself from events was the best thing that could have happened for the government as a whole.

https://twitter.com/JakeSherman/status/935548011689758720

As the media tried to work out what in the world was happening, Trump did what he does best: tried to take back control of the narrative.

https://twitter.com/foxandfriends/status/935835736158363648

While many saw this as the spin on high school politics that it was, the ploy certainly appealed to the people it was targeted at: the president’s base.

https://twitter.com/covfefeartist/status/935629411113631744

https://twitter.com/chuckwoolery/status/935706413632049152

https://twitter.com/CHIZMAGA/status/935655877683462144

https://twitter.com/USATrump45/status/935633551126614018

But after all this, surely the shutdown was avoided and nobody wants it to happen, right? Right?

https://twitter.com/jbarro/status/936385868981571592

https://twitter.com/mattwhouse/status/936383155187089410

https://twitter.com/Mediaite/status/936412472390639616

https://twitter.com/axios/status/936416057329201153

Oh, good.

The Takeaway: Then again, maybe the president is working on a level no one has considered.

https://twitter.com/mattyglesias/status/936385119635623942

Twitter Governance, Part 2

What Happened: Do you remember “Retweets do not equal endorsements”? It might be time for President Trump to look into that. Or at least choose his retweets a little more carefully.

What Really Happened: Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer weren’t the only people the president alienated via Twitter last week. He also shocked quite a few people when he retweeted three tweets from far-right group Britain First. (Tweets linked above instead of embedded, in case they upset readers.)

https://twitter.com/syrianews/status/935840666952888321

https://twitter.com/Damian_Cullen/status/935840983350210561

https://twitter.com/AGlasgowGirl/status/935844076355768320

https://twitter.com/jimwaterson/status/935847246058356746

https://twitter.com/MrBrendanCox/status/935842524383645696

(That’s the husband of the murdered British MP whose killer yelled “Britain First” before killing her, in case you’re wondering why the name sounded so familiar.)

https://twitter.com/DavidLammy/status/935842872238145536

https://twitter.com/LiamByrneMP/status/935853001188827136

https://twitter.com/annaturley/status/935854070778224641

https://twitter.com/CarolineLucas/status/935854582126858240

https://twitter.com/MayorofLondon/status/936172490283503616

Condemnation came from all quarters, it seemed. It was such a breach of both protocol and common sense that British Prime Minister Theresa May responded in an official statement, condemning what the president had done:

https://twitter.com/alexGspence/status/935904895118520321

Surely in the face of such a serious reaction, Trump would back down and apologize, right?

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/936037588372283392

The response to Trump's follow-up was swift.

https://twitter.com/Cairo67Unedited/status/936033886932529153

https://twitter.com/alcoholicgay/status/936045823384834048

https://twitter.com/AWebsterAGE/status/936039998905761793

Turns out, lots of people were thinking about that prospective state visit…

https://twitter.com/benrileysmith/status/936355862477721600

https://twitter.com/kirancmoodley/status/936359252859543552

https://twitter.com/alantravis40/status/936355374302748672

So, upsetting the country that has traditionally been one of the strongest allies of the US and tacitly endorsing an organization that shares anti-Muslim content? That didn't go over well. But at least that was the extent of it, right? Oh, wait: there were also reports that Britain First’s membership was growing as a result of Trump’s patronage. So there's that.

The Takeaway: For further evidence of how this was received, here's a reminder that even Piers Morgan turned against Trump on this one.

https://twitter.com/piersmorgan/status/935842887480369152

Meanwhile in the Mueller Investigation…

What Happened: Christmas came early for everyone watching the Russia investigation, as Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI.

What Really Happened: How best to mark the start of the holiday month? Special Counsel Robert Mueller opened it with a gift for those following his investigation into the Trump campaign's possible contacts with Russia.

https://twitter.com/KatieBoWill/status/936600256292229122

https://twitter.com/ZekeJMiller/status/936600236180557824

Oh, but it turns out it wasn’t just a charge.

https://twitter.com/K8brannen/status/936600148523868166

https://twitter.com/tribelaw/status/936600316161687552

Let’s put this in some perspective.

https://twitter.com/JuddLegum/status/936608974220251136

https://twitter.com/JohnJHarwood/status/936620330256359425

https://twitter.com/PreetBharara/status/936605596106752002

To those thinking that this is a big deal… Well, it really is. (Just look at all the media coverage it’s getting, after all!) But what if it’s even bigger than it looks at first glance?

https://twitter.com/yashar/status/936604307432058880

https://twitter.com/davidaxelrod/status/936605894770679808

https://twitter.com/imillhiser/status/936602343654723585

https://twitter.com/EamonJavers/status/936610552931061760

https://twitter.com/BanditRandom/status/936620857685708801

But whatever could that be? Some have a suggestion:

https://twitter.com/joyindc/status/936626652284620800

At the time of this writing, this is all still unfolding, so don't be surprised if this shows up again in next week's column.

The Takeaway: Oh, the irony of history.

https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/936604394661007360

A Royal Engagement

What Happened: Who doesn’t love a good wedding? Especially when it’s a modern day fairy tale come true, complete with an actual prince.

What Really Happened: But enough about politics! Maybe there are better things happening somewhere else in the world. Does anyone have any suggestions?

https://twitter.com/ClarenceHouse/status/935085955383427072

That’ll do. It turns out, people were very happy about this news, whether they were leading countries…

https://twitter.com/theresa_may/status/935093131493519361

…or just pretending to be related to one of the betrothed on television:

https://twitter.com/WendellPierce/status/935170930241781761

https://twitter.com/halfadams/status/935168456957165568

(That’s Patrick Adams, who plays Meghan Markle’s husband on the USA Network show Suits, for those who don’t follow such things.)

Turns out, Markle’s real relatives were on board as well, luckily:

https://twitter.com/KensingtonRoyal/status/935088438243622912

But what about the rest of the world?

https://twitter.com/EmoNegro1/status/935176564110708736

https://twitter.com/happyguy68871/status/935200709909168128

https://twitter.com/jfuentes/status/935223175188594688

https://twitter.com/TheAnnaEdit/status/935239808049434629

Oh, you mean this interview?

https://twitter.com/itvnews/status/935207107653193728

Yes, it seems that people liked that one.

https://twitter.com/emynash/status/935207069631832070

https://twitter.com/heykmenz/status/935209950866964485

https://twitter.com/QueenVicMirror/status/935207721749635072

Of course, this is one of those stories that the media loves, but there’s one story in particular to bear in mind: someone asked Prince Harry how it felt to be marrying Markle "being a ginger". (“Unbelievable,” was his reply.)

The Takeaway: We shouldn’t forget that this happy occasion wasn’t happy for everyone.

https://twitter.com/sonyasuxx/status/935187069248442375

Did You Hear the One About the Cat and the Library?

What Happened: Just let the damn cat into the library, everyone.

What Really Happened: Sometimes it doesn't take much to see that the problems of little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Especially when there’s a cat who wants to get into the library and isn’t allowed.

https://twitter.com/e_mcguire_/status/935961091015958531

https://twitter.com/e_mcguire_/status/935962450620571648

https://twitter.com/jpegan/status/935961754517102592

https://twitter.com/SLE3PR/status/935961755569872897

https://twitter.com/TabithaTeddy/status/935875412688818176

https://twitter.com/M_Cherry_315/status/935996920660717568

https://twitter.com/EricaFails/status/935994805192216576

https://twitter.com/A4587GA/status/936166698000044032

And for those looking for a little more backstory…

https://twitter.com/librarianrover/status/935992054026588160

https://twitter.com/jendaviswilson/status/935995766169993216

https://twitter.com/librarianrover/status/935996571673677825

It turns out, the person responsible for the sign was happy about the attention it got:

https://twitter.com/cschommer/status/935998367477522432

https://twitter.com/cschommer/status/936081433952522241

But none of this answers the important question at the heart of these things: How does Max feel about his new-found fame?!?

The Takeaway: If Max’s story does somehow turn into a kids' book, where will this new trend end? Hopefully before this happens:

https://twitter.com/sarahwatson42/status/936253092877647872

https://twitter.com/peiszecheng4ny/status/936241181763211264

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/internet-week-148/