Donald Trump presents a conundrum to his foes. Ignore him, and he continues to spew his messages without interruption; react to what he says, and you are feeding the troll. Today, reaction won out as Twitter exploded with rage at the GOP presidential candidate’s new proposal for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Judging by the top tweets on the topic and quotes given by prominent political figures in TV and radio interviews, Trump’s plan has either very little support or very few supporters who use Twitter.
Critics ranged from former Vice President Dick Cheney (speaking to radio host Hugh Hewitt) and Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer to tech titan Jeff Bezos. Supporters? There was Katie McHugh, a reporter for Breitbart.com (with 7,714 followers) who posited that Muslims “have few to no skills,” “rely on taxpayer support,” and “are likely to engage in jihad.” She didn’t find much support from fellow conservatives in the media, such as the Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin (with 40,600 followers) who tweeted “candidates banking on picking up Trump voters may be disappointed–that crowd isn’t voting for anyone on the near side of loony.”
A few prominent tweets were humorous, like Alex Bogusky of branding firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky promoting the #DeportTrump meme and the hilarious proclamation of St. Petersburg, FL mayor Rick Kriseman banning Trump from his city:
DJ and comedy writer Danny Baker concluded that, as a New York resident married to a Muslim, David Bowie is suspect.
There were also some pretty smart insights. Texas venture capitalist Aziz Gilani pointed to articles asserting that 10% of all physicians in the U.S. are Muslim—a counterpoint to McHugh (and one that actually cited sources).
Reaction among Silicon Valley’s elite was fast and furious. Spark Capital venture partner and entrepreneur Nabeel Hyatt tweeted a picture of his family that immigrated to the United States as Muslims decades ago:
And the ever-acerbic Box CEO Aaron Levie lashed out:
Tech lawyer Marvin Ammori (listed in the Fast Company‘s 100 Most Creative in 2012), thinks Trump just inspired more ISIS recruits. Venture capitalist Hunter Walk asked if Trump would get deported from Twitter’s recommended follow list:
Tech investor and SharkTank guest Chris Sacca suggested that Trump couldn’t be funding his projects without some Middle East sovereign wealth funds:
And Stripe CEO and co-founder John Collison had a morbid appreciation for the spectacle’s entertainment value: