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As you’ve no doubt heard by now, over the past few days Donald Trump, the sitting President of the United States, has literally been targeting and harassing and demeaning Black men on Twitter.

Give me a few minutes to break down what’s really happening here.

First off, every single morning, between 6am – 7am, Donald Trump or his social media team writes a series of tweets. Now I don’t think Trump is some brilliant mastermind, but he does have one super-skill – and it’s manipulating the media to make himself the center of the news cycle everyday.

Donald Trump cannot stand the idea of a huge news story going on that he is not somehow at the center of. And if he can somehow, early in the morning, inject himself into a news story via Twitter, he will do so, the news media will take the bait, and whatever he tweeted about that morning will likely dominate the news that day.

So he uses social media for three primary reasons.

  1. To shape the news cycle. Particularly if bad news against him is building, like Russia or Roy Moore, Trump will use social media to distract the nation.


  1. He uses social media to stroke his own ego. The man is thirsty. He’s desperate for praise and attention. He’s dying to be thanked and congratulated. I’ve never in my life seen someone with so much power still act so absolutely powerless and desperate for attention every single day. Trump sees attention and praise as power, so he uses social media to get those things however he can.


  1. Now the third way Donald Trump uses social media is what I want to linger on for a few more minutes this morning. Donald Trump loves to use social media to incite the hate and anger among his racist, white supremacist base. He knows how dense they are. He knows full well that if he attacks certain people, with certain words, that it doesn’t matter what else is going on in the world, they will support him. THIS IS CALLED THE CULTURE WAR.

We are literally living in the time where white people in Alabama are openly admitting that they don’t care if Roy Moore is a pedophile, they are voting for him anyway. When I saw people say that with my own eyes, it showed me just how deep and twisted and pathological millions of Trump’s supporters truly are.

And nothing incites Donald Trump’s base more than when they see him target free Black men and women who will say and do whatever the feel like saying and doing.

That’s why last month Donald Trump repeatedly targeted ESPN’s Jemele Hill and Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson – two Black women who dared to speak their mind.

That’s why this week Donald Trump is now targeting, of all people, sports dad LaVar Ball. I have to be honest with you – this one shocked me.  Nothing Trump does should shock us, but for the President of the United States to use his platform to attack a random public figure like LaVar Ball is just gross.

And what I know is that Donald Trump and his team have already assessed that LaVar Ball is just the type of free Black man that his base despises. Say what you want about LaVar, yes – he’s loud and brash and talks trash, but that man is a dedicated father to his sons and a dedicated husband to his wife – who recently had a stroke. This man has dedicated every waking second of his life to raising his sons.

But LaVar Ball refused to kiss Trump’s behind when his son LiAngelo recently got in trouble on a trip to China with UCLA’s men’s basketball team. That clearly set Trump off.

Seeing the reaction that attacking LaVar got, Donald Trump yesterday decided to attack my friend Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders for his stance on the national anthem.

Do not be duped. This is a diversion tactic. Yes, we must call Trump out when he attacks us because he is not just a reality TV star, he’s the President of the United States, and his words have power, but we must not go from tweet to tweet, giving this man all of our energy when we have so much more important work to do!

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Shaun King: How Does Trump Manipulate Social Media?  was originally published on