It’s a new year but any hopes Donald Trump’s staff had of the President reining in his social media outbursts were dashed with a flurry of tweets over 24 hours that covered everything from North Korea and Iran to airline safety.
But let’s start with what promises to be a highly entertaining addition to your calendar:
1) ‘THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR’
Forget the Oscars or the MTV Awards, this year’s hottest ticket promises to be the President’s evaluation of the mainstream media.
Yes Miss Brittany Marie, it is.
2) The Middle East
Trump has long claimed he can make the “ultimate deal” and bring peace to the long-intractable Israel-Palestine conflict but his approach so far appears to consist of giving Israel what it wants and offering Palestinians very little.
Pursuing this line further, the President last night said the United States may withhold future aid payments to Palestinians, accusing them of being “no longer willing to talk peace”.
Trump appears to think the controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital - a move condemned by over 120 members of the UN - should have somehow made negotiations easier.
The tweets follow plans disclosed by his UN ambassador earlier on Tuesday to stop funding a United Nations agency that provides humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees, reports Reuters.
“The President has basically said he doesn’t want to give any additional funding, or stop funding, until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiation table,” Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters when asked about future US funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees.
The US is the largest donor to the agency, with a pledge of nearly $370 million (£272 million) as of 2016, according to UNRWA’s website.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called the Trump administration’s decision on Jerusalem the “greatest crime” and a flagrant violation of international law, and said it was unacceptable for the US to have a role in the Middle East peace process because it was biased in favour of Israel.
On Tuesday, the Israeli Parliament passed an amendment that would make it harder for it to cede control over parts of Jerusalem in any peace deal with the Palestinians.
3) Airline Safety
Trump is well-known for trying to take credit for things he had little or nothing to do with, the Stock Market being his preferred example to note.
But even for the President, his latest claim stretches the limits of credibility to the maximum.
Yes, Trump is trying to take credit for a report on Monday that declared worldwide that there were no fatal passenger jet crashes in 2017, the safest year on record.
Trump, who took office in January 2017, discussed aviation on only a couple of occasions last year. In remarks to airline executives in February, he did not raise safety but criticised the “regulatory morass” affecting the industry.
Aviation Safety Network President Harro Ranter, whose group tracks aviation incidents, said in an email to Reuters: “It’s impossible to link the worldwide level of safety directly to recent US policy changes.
“US efforts have been instrumental to get to where we are today, but it takes years for policy changes to reach effect, and only in conjunction with other efforts by the aviation industry.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders did not answer directly when asked at a briefing if Trump’s White House predecessor, Barack Obama, also deserved credit for the long stretch without a US commercial passenger jet crash.
4) Mine’s Bigger Than Yours’
Trump responded to Kim Jong-Un’s New Year’s Day revelation that he has a nuclear button on his desk with a tweet that would have students of Freudian psychology frothing at the mouth.
Trump does indeed have button on his desk but rather than launch weapons, it does something far more refreshing but far less deadly.
Whilst Trump engages in all manner of innuendo-laden tweets, North and South Korea are actually taking concrete steps towards adult dialogue.
A long-closed border hotline was reopened on Wednesday a day after the South proposed high-level discussions amid a tense standoff over the North missile and nuclear programs.
5) ‘IT’S NOT FAIR!’
Something tells us The New York Times will carry on just as it has been if they provoke this kind of response from the President of the United States...
6) ‘IT’S OBAMA’S FAULT’
Despite the incredibly volatile situation in Iran, Trump couldn’t help using it to take a dig at his predecessor.
Iran’s supreme leader accused the country’s enemies on Tuesday of being behind days of street unrest, as the death toll from anti-government demonstrations rose to 21, reports Reuters.
Riot police were out in force in several cities on the sixth day of protests, which spread to the northwestern city of Tabriz, according to social media posts, as security forces scrambled to contain the boldest challenge to Iran’s leadership since 2009.
The United States rejected the suggestion that the protests were the work of foreign powers.
“We all know that’s complete nonsense,” said Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations.
“The demonstrations are completely spontaneous. They are virtually in every city in Iran. This is the precise picture of a long oppressed people rising up against their dictators.”