- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 27, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump will remain active on Twitter upon assuming the White House next month, his incoming press secretary said Monday, citing the “direct pipeline to the American people” provided by Mr. Trump’s preferred social media platform.

“I think that his use of social media in particular … is gonna be something that’s never been seen before,” Sean Spicer, Mr. Trump’s pick for press secretary, told Providence, Rhode Island’s WPRI.

“He has this direct pipeline to the American people where he can talk back and forth,” said Mr. Spicer, who indicated the president-elect’s impressive social media following “allows him to add an element of a conversation that’s never occurred.”

If he continues to tweet after his inauguration, Mr. Trump wouldn’t be the first sitting president to use Twitter while in office — President Obama used the platform to hold a virtual town hall in 2011.

Mr. Spicer said, however, the president-elect’s use of the platform will be unprecedented.

“He can put his thoughts out and hear what they’re thinking in a way that no one’s ever been able to do before,” Mr. Spicer added.

“He does communicate in a much bigger way than there’s ever been before, and I think that’s gonna be just a really exciting part of the job.”

Despite being one of Twitter’s most widely-watched users, Mr. Trump last month said he might stop using the service altogether upon assuming office.

“I’m going to do very restrained, if I use it at all, I’m going to be very restrained,” Mr. Trump said in a post-election interview with “60 Minutes.”

The president-elect has been anything but restrained in the interim, however, using the platform as recently as Monday to tweet criticism directed at Mr. Obama, the United Nations and the media, all in a matter of hours.

Mr. Trump boasts around 18 million social media followers on Twitter, but has an audience of around twice that figure when fellow platforms Facebook and Instagram are taken into account, Mr. Spicer said.

The White House said previously that the handle currently assigned to Mr. Obama, @POTUS, “will be made available to the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2017.” Mr. Trump has not said publicly whether he plans to use that Twitter account or his own while in office.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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