In a time when a reality TV star climbed his way into the White House with countless unabashed 140-character tweets, speaking directly to the incoming president through national television doesn't seem all that bizarre.
And that's exactly what Robert Reich, who served as former President Bill Clinton's labor secretary, did Wednesday night on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360º" in a stunning rebuke of President-elect Donald Trump's less-than-kosher Twitter behavior.
"Let me just say, with all due respect, Mr. Trump," Reich began, "you are president-elect of the United States. You are looking and acting as if you are mean and petty, thin-skinned and vindictive. Stop this. This is not a fireside chat; this is not what FDR did. This isn’t lifting people up."
Robert Reich: "Lemme just say, because Donald Trump is probably watching right now..." https://t.co/bD5Iskq7br
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 8, 2016
The former labor secretary made the comments after host Anderson Cooper fielded a call from United Steelworkers 1999 union leader Chuck Jones, who had just appeared on CNN's "OutFront" an hour earlier. Jones has been critical of Trump's claim that the deal he struck with Carrier saved 1,100 jobs at the Indianapolis plant.
The union boss said the president-elect "half-way delivered" with his Carrier efforts. "We expect you to go back and keep all the jobs." Jones said, referring to the 350 workers at another nearby plant, Rexnord, which is slated to move to Mexico.
Trump, naturally, was not too thrilled with the union president's slam, so he took to Twitter to counterpunch as only the soon-to-be leader of the free world does.
Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1481157708.0
If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working-less time talking. Reduce dues— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1481162200.0
And that very behavior is at odds with how Reich believes America's leaders should behave, at least when it comes to Twitter. "This is penalizing people for speaking their minds," Reich told Trump.
"What you would like is for no one — not a CEO, nobody on television, no journalist, nobody — to criticize you. You take offense at that," he continued. "Well, you are going to be president very shortly. You are going to have at your command not just Twitter but also the CIA, the IRA, the FBI. If you have this kind of thin-skinned vindictiveness attitude toward anyone who criticizes you, we are in very deep trouble and, sir, so are you."
And apparently Trump's fellow Republicans notice the trouble Twitter has already created for the billionaire businessman. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters he's "not going to get into" what Trump tweets, despite the fact that it's his primary mode of communication and a very powerful one at that.