As a septuagenarian who more or less tweeted his way into the White House, it’s odd that Donald Trump has avoided texting for so long. He’s had a good reason: Thanks to his behavior, such as a deeply ingrained habit of refusing to pay contractors and possibly doing crimes, he is constantly in court, where limiting written communication has been a boon to him over the years. Still, it’s remarkable that he’s avoided the now-universal medium considering that he’s been known for years as someone who is always looking at his phone.
But Trump, at the age of 76, has finally come around to the form. Perhaps as a New Year’s resolution, Trump began to text “friends, confidants and even people not especially close” to him, according to the New York Times. Isolated at Mar-a-Lago, he has been sending New Year’s greetings and political observations to whoever is still willing to chat with him.
It sounds like he’s treading lightly so far, but it’s a new world for a man who has relied for years on aides to get the word out for him. Previously, emails and texts to him were left on “read,” and if Trump wanted to send a message to reporters, the Times reports he would have staffers text them what he called a “wire.” That’s not to say he hasn’t learned new modes of communication before. For years he relied on aides to send out his tweets, saying them out loud or writing them on notes in Sharpie. When a former staffer helped set up his Twitter account so he could fire them off on his own, they reportedly compared it to the scene in Jurassic Park when the velociraptors learned how to open the doors to their cage.
Still, former advisers weren’t impressed by his new skill. “Has he now also started to take notes?” former national security adviser John Bolton quipped to the Times, by text.