WASHINGTON — President Trump kicked off the new year with more than a dozen Twitter posts castigating his enemies and political foes and complimenting himself.
Seventeen times on his first work day of the new year in Washington, the president thumbed his thumbs at convention. The objects of his attention had a vast and seemingly disconnected range, from taunting Kim Jong-un about his nuclear prowess to flaunting his own successes. But there was more. He made an only-in-the-Trump-era kind of news by announcing a reality-style creation unique in presidential history: awards for the “most dishonest corrupt media.”
He also threw in a couple of posts that were utterly bland in comparison, good wishes to Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the Republican from Utah who announced his retirement, and a pledge of support for the nation’s veterans. He also showed a fixated consistency by again railing against “crooked” Hillary Clinton and her aide, Huma Abedin.
If there was a strategy to his post-vacation social media burst, it was not readily apparent.
Mr. Trump started his first workday back in Washington after vacationing at his resort in Florida with one of his favorite — and debunked — attacks on the Obama administration: that former President Barack Obama gave Iranians money that helped finance terrorism. In two weeks, Mr. Trump will face deadlines on whether to reinstate American sanctions that the Obama administration lifted as part of a nuclear deal. However, there is currently political unrest in Iran, and analysts worry that if Mr. Trump pulls out of the deal, Iranians could shift blame from the regime to the United States.
Revisiting ‘Crooked Hillary’
Less than 48 hours into the new year, Mr. Trump called his one-time political opponent, Hillary Clinton, “Crooked Hillary” and said his own Justice Department was a shadowy deep state. Almost 14 months after the election, Mr. Trump has kept up a regular drumbeat of attacks on Mrs. Clinton. His criticism of the Justice Department suggests his attacks on his own attorney general will continue in 2018.
Building the Wall
Then, Mr. Trump praised the National Border Patrol Council for praising his administration. The Border Patrol Council, a union representing about 18,000 agents and agency employees, has long supported the president and his pledge to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. The union endorsed him during the election. Shortly before Mr. Trump cinched the Republican nomination, he was interviewed on the union’s podcast and said, “I have you 100 percent in my mind and I have your back, believe me.”
The Tax Overhaul
The president patted himself on the back for the passage of the tax legislation that he said has led to bonuses for workers around Christmas. Companies such as ATT and Comcast announced plans to give workers bonuses tied directly to the changes in tax law. Some companies may be trying to get on his good side. For instance, ATT is locked in an antitrust fight with Mr. Trump’s Justice Department over its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner.
The Korean Divide
Mr. Trump offered tepid support for a diplomatic solution with the North Korea, citing a peace overture between the North and South. Mr. Trump took this opportunity to revive his derisive nickname for North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, “Rocket man.” Stay tuned: Ten hours later, Mr. Trump raises the stakes and threatens the nuclear option.
Taking Credit on Aviation Safety
‘The Failing New York Times’
Mr. Trump has painted the same brush strokes repeatedly in his first year in office, casting the news media as a villainous force unwilling to recognize his accomplishments. He has frequently targeted The New York Times and has bestowed a Trumpian nickname of “the failing New York Times” for effect.
Just 33 hours in the new year, he delivered a push me-pull you message to The Times’s new publisher, A.G. Sulzberger. Mr. Trump incorrectly characterized the paper as failing financially, then offered a form of congratulations to Mr. Sulzberger, followed by another appeal to be treated better. He also incorrectly stated that The Times had issued an apology for its coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign.
A Program for Young Immigrants
The president then blamed Democrats for inaction to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, a cohort referred to “Dreamers.” Mr. Trump has wavered on whether he would work with Democrats to strike a deal on the program, an Obama-era holdover known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. He essentially extended the program by calling an end to it in September and giving Congress six months to come up with a permanent solution. The topic is expected to come up during a meeting between the president and congressional Republicans on Wednesday.
Mr. Trump reminded the country about how he has already helped veterans, including signing a bill that makes it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to remove bad employees. Mr. Trump posted a video compilation of him signing veterans-related legislation and speaking with veterans.
Kind Words for a Senator
Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the longest-serving Senate Republican, announced Tuesday he would retire at the end of the year. Mr. Trump had urged Mr. Hatch, 83, to seek an eighth term. The vacancy opens the door to Mitt Romney, a frequent Trump critic with an extensive network, to occupy a potential swing vote in the Senate.
Foreign Relations With Pakistan, Israel and the Palestinians
The Trump administration has been frustrated with what it sees as a lack of support from Pakistan in rooting out terrorists — most recently with Islamabad’s refusal to give Americans access to a captured militant who could provide intelligence on at least one American hostage. The United States is withholding $255 million in aid until Pakistan does more to combat terrorism.
A Bigger ‘Nuclear Button’
In a stark contrast to language the president used in a Twitter post on Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump’s threat of nuclear war with North Korea spooked some lawmakers, diplomats and national security experts, but also elicited their scorn for its juvenile and frightening tone. The wording was reminiscent of a boast he made during the presidential campaign that his hands, and by extension his genitals, were big enough.
Assaulting the News Media
Mr. Trump signaled that he will continue his habit of labeling news networks as “fake” and “dishonest” when he or his administration receives unfavorable coverage. These promised awards make good on a vision the president, a former reality television star, articulated in late November when he suggested there be such a contest.
A Promotion, Later Deleted
Watch @seanhannity tonight at 9:00 P.M.
Sean Hannity opened his 9 p.m. show on Fox with five minutes of praise for the president. “Despite vicious media attack and many political obstacles, 2017 was a very successful first year for President Trump.” Under the headline “Trump’s Accomplishments,” Mr. Hannity discussed the rising economy, homeownership rates and the fight against the Islamic State. With less regulation and the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, he said, “you have a recipe for a Reagan-style economic explosion.”
Mr. Trump later deleted this tweet.
A Pat on the Back
As the news media and the national security establishment scrambled to cover Mr. Trump’s late-night threat of nuclear war with North Korea, the president ended his day — one with no public events — with a final Twitter post praising his first year successes.
Michael Tackett contributed reporting.
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