President-elect Donald Trump's use of Twitter as a bully pulpit and way of connecting immediately with his supporters has been a shrewd and effective practice. But his latest tweets blasting a local union boss may have gone too far.
Trump made the excellent decision during the election to bash big targets like Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, but never Democratic voters. He rarely even used the word "democrats" at all. This was in contrast to the infamous, "basket of deplorables" comment Clinton was caught making about the Trump voters that so galvanized their opposition to her.
Since his election, Trump has attacked big companies like Boeing, dictators like Fidel Castro, and even Alec Baldwin and "Saturday Night Live" on Twitter. What those targets all had in common is they were all household names whose lives and livelihoods could not be destroyed even by a president-elect. In other words, these are big kids who have at least the wealth to absorb the storm.
To some extent, United Steelworkers 1999 President Chuck Jones is in the same boat. He's no Alec Baldwin or Fidel Castro, but he's at least a public figure in his local area who has to be prepared to be attacked for his positions. And Jones should have expected some kind of serious pushback from Trump after he went on national TV to basically call the president-elect a liar for allegedly exaggerating the number of jobs he and Carrier agreed to keep in Indiana.
Still, Trump and his team need to realize that they went right to the edge of the line with this attack because Jones still has a relatively small-time stature. That means he's a lot more likely to garner sympathy from the public in a "David vs. Goliath" way even if he is connected to a major national union. It doesn't help him reduce the stranglehold Democrats have on union support.