When Howard Schultz, Starbucks billionaire and independent presidential candidate, erred on Twitter, his campaign turned to a time-honored Washington tactic to explain the misstep.
They blamed someone else for his tweet.
It wasn’t an intern, exactly, that was blamed. CNN’s Cristina Alesci reported that a Schultz aide said someone else had tweeted for the coffee honcho and didn’t fully vet the piece.
But that excuse falls directly in line the “blame the intern” genre, which has been employed repeatedly by Donald Trump, whose campaign once used it to make clear the candidate did not actually believe people in Iowa had “issues on the brain” because of Monsanto. The “blame the intern” excuse has been the subject of a number of roundups, which you can read for amusement.
There are riffs on the form. Sen. Marco Rubio wrote a tweet blaming an intern at Politico for writing a story that he said misstated his position on tax policy. Monica Lewinsky, former White House intern, had some fun at his expense with that one.
It should have been expected for Schultz, who pretty clearly is not that into Twitter.
Schultz has tweeted a grand total of 13 times (if you count that tweet that was just deleted).
Every single one of them has been “ratioed,” which in Twitter parlance means the comments on a tweet outnumber the retweets. It’s an imperfect measure, but is generally used to denote a tweet that went over poorly. By that measure, Schultz’s tweets are very bad indeed.
Trump has a much better Twitter ratio since his many followers retweet and like with abandon. Trump’s Twitter feed is authentic since it looks and sounds exactly like Trump, although there have was a report in the Boston Globe last year about the work that can go into tweets that Trump doesn’t write himself.
Trump, love him or hate him, is a master of Twitter, using the social media platform to vent, sling insults, speak directly to his supporters and drive the national conversation.
Schultz made a point of saying he would do none of those things on Twitter.
After Trump responded to the “60 Minutes” report unveiling Schultz as a possible independent candidate by saying the coffee tycoon didn’t have the “guts,” Schultz said on CNBC, “I’m not going to respond to that. It’s childish. I’m not trying to win the Twitter primary.”
And he also addressed the deleted tweet that disparaged the Democratic senators during an interview Wednesday on CNN.
“I don’t want to get into revenge politics, which has been obviously been the problem that I’m identifying,” he said. “I don’t want to be part of mudslinging. I want to speak aspirationally and positively and do everything I can to elevate the national conversation. That is what’s necessary.”
If that’s the case he might just say off Twitter altogether.