91-year-old former congressman sets the Twitter bar in the Trump era
91-year-old former congressman John Dingell has been quick, witty, and on fire with his 140 characters for years.
Despite his age, he knows how to use the tweet machine the way it was intended: biting commentary, playful retweets, and insightful and smart reactions. Time and again he’s shown he’s mastered Twitter.
After tweeter-in-chief Donald Trump was elected, Dingell’s Twitter game has become even more relevant and fiery.
After the violence in Charlottesville and Trump’s bumbling mess of a response to the anti-Semitism and white supremacy on display, Dingell took to Twitter in the days following. One particular tweet resonated, with thousands praising the longtime Michigan lawmaker for posting what the president struggled to say.
Just look at those likes.
I signed up to fight Nazis 73 years ago and I’ll do it again if I have to.
Hatred, bigotry, & fascism should have no place in this country.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) August 12, 2017
Once known as an imposing Democrat with strong opinions and determined to pass universal health care, he’s refocused his energy toward the Twittersphere, where he still speaks his mind loud and clear even if it’s not on Capitol Hill.
Sure, Dingell also spends a lot of his time tweeting about Michigan sports. But after retiring after nearly 60 years in office at the age of 87 (he was the longest-serving member of Congress in history), he’s kept a running commentary on the ridiculousness of the government and society in general.
In the Trump era, where the president uses a micro-blogging platform to announce policy, devise political strategy, and sling insults, Dingell’s reactions and responses are a go-to source of humor, insight, and reflection.
Dingell’s Trump tweets also have bite. Since inauguration day (and throughout the election, too, if you want to look back and laugh-cry) we’ve been treated to these gems that often encapsulate what a lot of us are thinking.
On Trump’s staffing problems
Truman installed a bowling alley.
Carter tried solar panels.
Trump is fully invested in a revolving door.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) July 31, 2017
On the health care fight
I’ve been trying to repeal and replace the United States Senate since 1955. No luck.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) July 28, 2017
On Russia and lying
Flynn lied about Russia.
Kushner lied about Russia.
Sessions lied about Russia.
Trump Jr. lied about Russia.
Trump is lying about Russia.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) July 14, 2017
On Trump’s Middle East trip
I’m hearing no major concerns about Trump leaving for his first foreign trip next week, but I am hearing some objections to his return.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) May 13, 2017
When Trump gave an interview about a missile strike on Syria he talked mostly about “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen.” It was — weird. Dingell noticed.
The only thing I agree with Trump on so far is the fact that we both think chocolate cake is beautiful.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) April 12, 2017
On the wall
Trump can’t even get Mexico to sit down for a meeting, let alone pay for an idiotic $15,000,000,000 wall. The art of the deal, I guess.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) January 26, 2017
Dingell joined Twitter in 2010. In the seven-plus years since, he’s tweeted almost 5,000 times. Trump, 71, joined about a year earlier, but has racked up nearly 40,000 tweets — eight times the number of tweets, which seems like a good way to measure Trump’s Twitter obsession.
Dingell’s targets go beyond Trump.
Years before the former reality TV show host joined the political circus, Dingell was posting sharp commentary on, well, everything. The Atlantic called his Twitter feed “the best” back in 2014. Some of Dingell’s earlier Twitter home runs include a post about Sharknado, excellent usage of the hashtag and term “YOLO,” and taking an internet meme to disparage himself.
Ted Cruz did what now?
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) September 12, 2017
We should have all just stared at the eclipse.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) August 23, 2017
I feel like that internet giraffe has been pregnant for years now.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) March 9, 2017
Staff has now informed me of what a Kardashian is.
I’m only left with more questions.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) July 22, 2014
With Dingell’s decades of insider knowledge, his posts go beyond your average snarky Trump commentary that poke at the thin-skinned president. Luckily, Dingell hasn’t gotten blocked, and maybe he won’t if he keeps up with his smartly crafted ripostes.
His tweets spark discussion, replies, and thousands of retweets and likes.
God bless you Mr. Dingell. A true American hero who speaks the truth.
— Irma Grieve (@img4pets) August 14, 2017
If this retired 90-something Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient can keep up with Trump and everything else on Twitter, there’s no excuse for the rest of us. Except for the fact that John Dingell has already won Twitter. Maybe the rest of us should just go home.