Tina Smith: Trump's tweets don't have 'anything to do with Minnesotans and what Minnesotans care about'

The newest U.S. senator for MN called the president's tweet storms "undignified."
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The newest U.S. senator for MN called the president's tweet storms "undignified."
Sen. Tina Smith in Capitol Hill on Jan. 3, 2018.

Sen. Tina Smith in Capitol Hill on Jan. 3, 2018.

Five full days.

That's how long Tina Smith got as a U.S. senator before being dragged into the 24-hour cable TV news cycle.

Smith appeared on CNN's New Day program Monday morning, her first national TV interview since taking over Al Franken's Senate seat on Jan. 3, and offered some damning comments about the president's Twitter habits. (You can read CNN's transcript here)

Host Alisyn Camerota ran through a few topics, including Smith's thoughts on whether Al Franken should have resigned, the new senator's thoughts on DACA and the border wall (the latter of which Smith said doesn't make "any sense"), and whether Smith thinks Oprah will run for president.

Camerota also called Smith a "newbie" and noted the optimism "hasn't been beaten out of you yet by Capitol Hill."

(Note: What a slogan. "Congress: It'll beat the optimism right out of you!")

'He ought to just put the phone down'

Camerota brought up President Donald Trump's "mental fitness," asking Smith, "Do you have concerns?"

Smith side-stepped the exact question, saying she wasn't in a place to comment on his mental health. But she did take aim at his tweeting.

Referencing what she called Trump's recent "Twitter storms" (the size of nuclear buttons, the election fraud commission he disbanded after less than a year, immigration and the wall, how he's "like, really smart," the fictional fake news awards), Smith said: "I haven't heard one thing in any of that that has anything to do with Minnesotans and what Minnesotans care about. That, I think, is a big problem."

The new senator went on to list some issues she believes her constituents are worried about: the rising cost of health care, internet access in rural areas and child care options.

"I think this Twitter storm that he unleashes is a huge distraction and is frankly, you know, undignified. He ought to just put the phone down," she said.

Her thoughts put her in line with a majority of Americans. Over the summer of 2017 about two-thirds of one poll's respondents found the president's Twitter "inappropriate" or "insulting." A more recent poll found 70 percent think Trump should stop tweeting from his personal account.

And there are real-world ramifications. The New York Times recently wrote a story titled "Trump’s Twitter Threats Put American Credibility on the Line," in which the author writes: "Countries are unsure whether to take his [tweeted] words as policy pronouncements, or whether they can be safely ignored."

Meaning this likely won't be the last time Smith winds up commenting on Trump's Twitter usage.

Smith's first weekend as a senator was quite busy

She traveled around Minnesota, visiting a metal fabrication business in Stacy and steelworkers in Eveleth, talking bout pensions with retirees, presenting a flag to the Hibbing fire chief to honor a fallen firefighter, and discussing rural broadband access in Mountain Iron.

“The stops I made, and meetings I held, and Minnesotans I met really drove home what a big, diverse, welcoming state Minnesota is," said the former lieutenant governor in a statement., adding she's excited to "hit the ground running this week."

Smith is one of two new Democrats to the Senate, the other being Doug Jones of Alabama). The party split is as narrow as it can be without resulting in a tie, as Republicans control 51 of the 100 seats. The rest are held by Democrats or left-leaning Independents.


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