After getting voted out of office, banned from social media, and impeached twice, a Florida Man is attempting what can only be described as a rebrand. Former Twitter user Donald Trump is spending his days FaceTiming YouTubers; he's giving meandering speeches at weddings; he's spring breaking in Florida, so to speak. Now, he's blogging. Awkward question but...is Trump making a bid to join Gen Z?
First, let's back up to the new Trump website. With a layout that somewhat resembles a low-quality Tumblr site circa 2014, "From the Desk of Donald Trump" unfortunately answers the question none of us dared to ask: What would this man have tweeted if he was provided more than 280 characters? Many of his posts are about election fraud, "RINOs" like Mitt Romney, and "warmongers" like Liz Cheney. Occasionally, he takes a break to celebrate certain holidays — as he wrote on April 4, "Happy Easter to ALL, including the Radical Left CRAZIES who rigged our Presidential Election, and want to destroy our Country!" (Thoughtful!)
But this isn't the only way Trump is attempting to connect with the youths. On Tuesday, notorious YouTuber Jake Paul shared a series of photos seemingly confirming a call with Trump. "In the past two weeks I… FaceTimed Donald Trump," Paul wrote on Instagram, backing this up with a screenshot that does seem to depict Paul and Trump talking over FaceTime. In the same post, Paul also claimed he was "DM'd by Drake," bragged that wrestler Kamaru Usman "became my fan," and listed ten other achievements.
Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that Paul and Trump have linked up: They both love boasting and spreading dubious information on social media. They've both backtracked after downplaying the COVID-19 crisis. They're both notably terrible. But Trump is a 74-year-old former President. Why is he FaceTiming YouTubers? Why is he blogging, crashing random engagement photos at Mar-a-Lago, and all but joining Cameo? And most importantly: Why does he think this is working?
Paul might be one of the most famous faces of Gen Z, but he doesn't speak for the generation that grew up facing the widespread violence, chaos, and hatred Trump wreaked. In 2020, Trump only received 36% of votes from Americans aged 24 and under, and according to a 2020 study, an even lower percentage said they approved of the job he'd done as President. According to the Pew Research Center, studies show that Gen Zers are overwhelmingly progressive, "less likely than older generations to see the United States as superior to other nations" and more likely to "see the country's growing racial and ethnic diversity as a good thing."
Trump, meanwhile, stoked xenophobia and white supremacy throughout his entire run in office. And as funny as his blog might be, it's dangerous that he's still promoting division by continuing to rant about baseless claims of voter fraud. It's unacceptable that he's continuing to call COVID-19 the "China Virus" in the wake of so many recent acts of anti-Asian violence.
As America continues to face the after-effects of Trump's violent, harmful rhetoric, it's obvious that he might be trying to reach new audiences, but thank you, no thank you. Gen Z is all good, bestie!