Adam Schiff Takes On Trump Tweets

Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, speaks during an interview in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Photographer: Julia Schmalz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, speaks during an interview in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Photographer: Julia Schmalz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bright and early March 20th, our area’s own Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)—the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence—was front and center on CNN providing the opening statement during a hearing on Russia’s possible interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

But Schiff has been making other statements of late—this time in 140 characters or less.

Schiff, who represents communities including Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Franklin Hills, Silver Lake, Griffith Park, the Hollywood Hills and Los Feliz, has recently begun using Twitter to speak out against the Trump administration.

According to Schiff, he enjoys the challenge of crafting something meaningful in so few characters and also noted that his followers have surged in the last few months.

Schiff, who has been a member of Congress since 2001, represents California’s 28th congressional district.

Though Schiff hasn’t always used Twitter for such purposes, he said he decided to begin tweeting assertively because he’s “always felt that you need to communicate with people in the same way that the opposition does.”

“[Twitter] is really the medium of choice for [President Trump],” Schiff said. “These are extraordinary circumstances. We’ve certainly never had a president who made use of Twitter in the way that Trump does.”

One of Schiff’s most viral tweets was sent on February 4, 2017 in response to Trump derisively calling U.S. District Judge James Robart a “so-called judge” after Robart temporarily blocked Trump’s travel ban.

Schiff tweeted, “The ‘so-called’ judge was nominated by a ‘so-called’ President & was confirmed by the ‘so-called’ Senate. Read the ‘so-called’ Constitution.”

Schiff compares fitting poignancy into such a narrow space, as Twitter offers, to a puzzle, and said he has learned that humor can help solidify his points, whether he can demonstrate irony or show “just how preposterous something is.”

He also noted that while he is personally involved in each tweet, he remains open to suggestions and critiques from his staff.

“For every Tweet [of mine] that you see, there are at least a couple that have been rejected—probably for good reason,” he said.

He noted that Trump might fare better if he allowed his own staff to review his tweets, versus crafting them seemingly “on his own in the middle of the night.”

Schiff also said he worries about the international and domestic controversy that Trump’s often-contentious tweets may cause. He pointed to Trump’s recent tweets accusing former president Barack Obama of wiretapping the Trump Tower during the 2016 election, and tweets made by Trump in January in which he openly criticized China.

According to Schiff, he also uses Twitter to draw attention to other crucial issues, including healthcare, climate change, LGBT issues and what he feels is a potential violation of the “Emoluments Clause,” which states that no elected official may accept anything of value from a foreign government without the approval of Congress.

Schiff noted that China has recently granted 38 new Trump trademarks.

“The whole point of the Emoluments Clause is that you don‘t have business relationships with foreign governments while you‘re the President of the United States because you don‘t want people to have to wonder if what you‘re doing is of international interest or only your own financial interest,” he said.

Schiff said he ultimately hopes his tweets will inform his followers of issues happening in real-time, as well as open a dialogue between his office and his constituents.

And on an international level, Schiff said he thinks it is now vital for members of Congress to speak out on “a number of issues the world cares deeply about that we don‘t hear from our President.”

You can follow Schiff for yourself via @RepAdamSchiff.

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