In an entirely predictable turn of events, our former president has abruptly shut down his "From the Desk of Donald Trump" weblog, barely a month after it launched.
This farce really wrote itself when Trump touted the upcoming launch of his own new "communications platform" back in March, two months after his permanent ban from Twitter. When it then launched in early May, everyone with eyes could see that it was just a lamely formatted blog and was unlikely to provide him with the satisfaction he once enjoyed as King of Right Wing Twitter. The site allowed Trump to post tweet-like messages with signature random use of capital letters, and for his followers to then share these on their own social media — but it didn't allow for any sort of reply interface.
At the time of the "launch," such as it was, senior advisor to Trump Jason Miller told Fox News that this wasn't supposed to be the new answer to Trump's canceled Twitter presence. "President Trump’s website is a great resource to find his latest statements and highlights from his first term in office, but this is not a new social media platform," he demurred. "We’ll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future."
Within weeks, the Washington Post was reporting that the site had virtually no one looking at it, leading to Trump being defensive himself. They also noted that mentions of Trump across all social platforms had sunk to a five-year low. As the Post put it, "On the Internet, former president Donald Trump is sliding toward something he has fought his entire life: irrelevance."
That had to cause some Trump rage.
Trump himself tried to downplay the role of the blog. "This is meant to be a temporary way of getting my thoughts and ideas out to the public without the Fake News spin, but the website is not a ‘platform,’” Trump said in one statement. "It is merely a way of communicating until I decide on what the future will be for the choice or establishment of a platform."
The site was not-coincidentally announced just as Facebook's new Oversight Board was set to issue a ruling on the company's decision to ban the former president indefinitely. That ruling, which was a clear punt back to Facebook's executives, suggested that the suspension was justified after Trump's incitement of the January 6 riot, however the board panel said that the company needed to have a clear policy for permanent bans, and/or it could not permanently ban someone in this way.
But for now Trump is without a platform once again, and the New York Times reports that some close advisors were "frustrated" by Trump's totally in-character decision to shut the thing down after just a month. The fact that he didn't know it would go this way, and that blogs take a very long time to build traffic even if you are Donald Trump, is just the icing on the cake.
And today, Miller was on Twitter himself trying to spin this shutdown as a positive, retweeting another conservative mouthpiece's suggestion that this is a precursor to Trump joining another platform. "Yes, actually it is!" he writes. "Stay tuned!"
To which we say, "Good luck!"
Yes, actually, it is. Stay tuned! https://t.co/USKGvVXe2f— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) June 2, 2021
Photo: Getty Images