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WASHINGTON — It's official — the president's tweets, that is.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that Trump's tweets should be taken as official statements, contradicting other White House officials who have tamped down on the official nature of the tweets in recent days.
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"The president is president of the United States," Spicer said, "so they are considered official statements by the president of the United States."
As it was during his candidacy, Trump's Twitter usage has been a cornerstone of his presidency — often offering a window into his thinking, sometimes at the expense of his administration's own messaging. Despite bipartisan complaints about his continued 140-character habit, Trump has persisted in making his views known on social media.
The president often respond to major global events on Twitter. In the immediate aftermath of the recent London terror attack, Trump used the platform to pick a fight with London Mayor Sadiq Khan while also posting support for the U.K. after the attack.
The White House even blasts the tweets to other social media platforms, posting graphics of the tweets on Instagram or even celebrating longer tweet storms in videos uploaded to Trump's Facebook page.
But while Spicer flaunted Trump's millions of followers, other White House officials have sought to delineate the difference between the tweets and official forms of presidential correspondence.
White House national security advisor Sebastian Gorka told CNN one day earlier that there's a difference between tweets and policy and @realDonaldTrump's feed is the former, not the latter.
“It’s not policy, it’s social media,” Gorka said in a tense back and forth during which he accused the media of over-obsessing Trump’s tweets. "It's not policy, it's not an executive order, it's social media. Please understand the difference.”
Spicer's counterpart Sarah Huckabee Sanders also lamented the media obsession with the tweets and celebrated them as a way for Trump to speak directly and unfiltered to his followers, but regretting that the media obsesses “over every period, dot.”
"I think it's just the obsession over every detail of the president's tweets,” she said.
“The obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and little of what he does as president” irked Kellyanne Conway during an interview NBC’s Today Monday. When faced with the platform as Trump’s preferred method of communication, Conway said “that’s not true.”
Tuesday, Spicer called Trump's penchant for tweeting an example of his messaging prowess. "The president is the most effective messenger on his agenda and I think his use of social media ... gives him an opportunity to speak straight to the American people, which has proved to be a very, very effective tool."
That messaging efficiency will soon be tested, on issues like the controversial travel ban executive order as well as the FBI probe of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Sanders told reporters she’s not aware of the tweets being vetted by a lawyer.