As he was tweeting, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway went on the "Today" show to criticize the media for what she called their "obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president." The implication being: Trump's tweets are not news, and the media covering them as such should back off. It's a position that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has aligned himself with, too, in the past, while declining to "to comment on the daily tweets" in December when Trump was president-elect.
"Twitter," in its very name, seems to imply frivolity. Yet the president's tweets, while informal, do not stick to topics of no consequence. There seems to be no ultimate consensus on their significance: Reporters have generally covered them as words from the president of the United States and as a new phenomenon in presidential communication, while Conway and Ryan have suggested they aren't worth discussing overall. The creator of a viral Twitter bot, @RealPressSecBot, believes he might have an answer.
"It's very straightforward," said St. Louis-based software engineer Russel Neiss in an interview on Monday morning, about his project. "It scans the @realDonaldTrump account every 5 minutes, looking for new tweets. If it finds one, puts it in a official presidential statement format and tweets it out."
The bot was inspired by a viral tweet from former Obama White House official Pat Cunnane, who reformatted one of Trump's Sunday tweets so that it looked like an official statement, issued by the White House.
Neiss likes to make bots - his previous viral bot tweeted out the names, photos and fates of Jews fleeing Europe aboard the St. Louis in 1939, most of whom were forced to return home. So when Cunnane's tweet started to go viral, a friend suggested to Neiss that he turn the idea into a bot, too.
"I said yeah, I can do that while my kids are sleeping," Neiss said. It took him about 40 minutes to build the bot, while his children were down for a nap. To be fair, though, he already had a lot of the code he needed at hand thanks to his previous creations. The Real Press Sec. bot started tweeting on Sunday afternoon. By Monday morning, it had more than 50,000 followers.
The president's Monday morning tweets criticized the Justice Department for submitting a "watered down, politically correct version" of the "Travel Ban" and said the department should seek a "much tougher version!" Another tweet on Monday attacked the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. On Sunday, Trump had taken one of Kahn's remarks out of context while criticizing him. Trump's Monday tweet about Khan called the mayor's pushback a "pathetic excuse."
The bot also arrived as the New York Times' Maggie Haberman made the argument that even referring to the content on @realdonaldtrump as "tweets" isn't helpful for understanding how reporters - and the public - should regard them. Whether made on Twitter, said in a speech, or released on paper, all are statements from the president.
Neiss agreed, and hoped those encountering his bot would find something illuminating in "taking these statements for what they are. It's not just a tweet. These are tweets that can move markets."
"It was President Bush who said, 'I'm the decider.'" Neiss said. "When push comes to shove, what matters is what's in Trump's head."
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)