President Trump is a master Twitter troll. And now he’s planning his greatest trollfest yet.
The president is “tentatively planning to live-tweet the debates on June 26-27, according to people familiar with the planning,” the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Mr. Trump, even from a remove, always promised to be the most important figure at the debate. Regardless of the specific debate questions, many Democratic voters will be listening for how each candidate plans to take down Mr. Trump.
Interacting in real time on Twitter would make Mr. Trump’s presence more tangible by directly inserting himself into the political conversation unfolding on stage. His posts could provide instant responses as well as insights into which attacks he feels most acutely.
But the Journal said the plans aren’t firm, adding “political advisers warned that planning for debate night remains fluid, and that Mr. Trump can change his mind.”
Trump’s almost daily attacks are a double-edged sword. While he enjoys taking down weak candidates — like former Texas Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren — those attacks raise their stature, making them seemingly worthy of addressing. Trump has gone after frontrunner Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well, and both have been rising in the polls of late.
Twenty Democrats will debate next Wednesday and Thursday (three of the announced 23 candidates did not make the cut).
Here’s the line-up:
Cory Booker, senator from New Jersey
Julián Castro, former housing secretary
Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York
John Delaney, former representative from Maryland
Tulsi Gabbard, representative from Hawaii
Jay Inslee, governor of Washington
Amy Klobuchar, senator from Minnesota
Beto O’Rourke, former representative from Texas
Tim Ryan, representative from Ohio
Elizabeth Warren, senator from Massachusetts
Michael Bennet, senator from Colorado
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Joseph R. Biden Jr., former vice president
Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind.
Kirsten Gillibrand, senator from New York
Kamala Harris, senator from California
John Hickenlooper, former governor of Colorado
Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont
Eric Swalwell, representative from California
Marianne Williamson, self-help author
Andrew Yang, former tech executive
That means two of the top three candidates in the polls will face off on Night 2 — Biden and Sanders. Harris, too, will be there, as will Buttigieg, also in the top tier.
Warren, meanwhile, is stuck with the also-rans.
The latest Quinnipiac poll stacks up this way — Biden 30, Sanders 19, Warren 15, Buttigieg 8, Harris 7, O’Rourke 3, Booker 1, Klobuchar 1, Bennet 0, Yang 1, Gillibrand 0, Inslee 0, Castro 0. All the rest have zero, as well.
So Warren, at 15, will face off with a candidate at 3 and another at 1.
The debates will be moderated by the NBC anchors Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd, the Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart, and the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
With Trump live-tweeting, look for some new nicknames. Trump is a master of that, too. He calls Warren “Pocahontas” for her false claims that’s she’s Native American. He calls Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Democrat who falsely claimed to have fought in the Vietnam War, “Da Nang Dick.” Jeb Bush was, of course, “Low Energy Jeb.” Then there’s “Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Leakin’ James Comey,” “Jeff Flakey,” “Head Clown Chuck Schumer,” and “Mad Maxine Waters.”