On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump’s Twitter account shared a tweet with a .gif showing him hitting Hillary Clinton with a golf ball.
“Donald Trump’s amazing golf swing. #CrookedHillary,” Mike, whose account name is “fuctupmind,” tweeted.
President Trump retweeted the message.
The .gif featured a poorly made video of Trump swinging his golf club at a golf course, shooting a golf ball into the air. The next video showed Hillary Clinton’s infamous trip and fall as she entered her private plane during the 2016 presidential election.
As a propaganda tool, the video is brilliant — showing Trump knocking Hillary down at a pivotal moment. In the election, the video of Clinton’s tripping sparked fears about her health, helping to present her as unfit for the presidency.
But the election is over. Although Clinton has strolled into the media circus again, even rewriting the very message of George Orwell’s classic 1984 to attack the president, this retweet, seen as Trump’s response, comes across as petty and vindictive.
Then again, such a retweet is not without precedent. Last month, the president retweeted an image of the “Trump Train” running over CNN.
The worst thing about such unforced mistakes is that the media will focus a great deal of time on Trump’s vindictiveness, rather than covering the truly important stories that are developing — the corruption trial of Democrat Senator Robert Menendez and the efforts to achieve tax reform, for example.
Then again, it seems perpetual distraction is both Trump’s natural bent and his most effective strategy. But if this distraction is a grand strategy, it seems he has yet to learn exactly how to capitalize on it. Breathless media coverage may have given him the Republican primary, and may have contributed to his victory in November, but he has yet to use this distraction to achieve meaningful legislative victories — the kind of success a president needs to enact a lasting legacy.