The Twitter-diss is an art form as exquisitely subtle as calligraphy. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is either a master of the technique or an accidental savant.
At about noon on Tuesday, Abe sent out the quote-tweet below . . . before deleting it 2o minutes later.
It does not take a nuanced appreciation of Twitter shade to conclude that Abe was making fun of Trump’s juvenile, bullying approach to domestic diplomacy–the jarring contrast between the P.M.’s polite, measured words and the president’s brutish snark says it all. Had Abe tweeted nothing further for the rest of the day, his meaning would be unmistakable. Instead, however, he soon tweeted the below response to a Trump tweet.
I too look forward to having fruitful talks with my great friend President @realDonaldTrump as always
— 安倍晋三 (@AbeShinzo) June 7, 2018
What most spectators will likely conclude is that Abe clearly intended to add his quote to the Trump-tweet addressing the pair’s scheduled meeting. One might be forgiven, however, for theorizing that this is all an elaborately choreographed micro-drama on the Prime Minister’s part, and that he is a wizard-tier shade-tweeter. No matter the intention, it serves as a stark reminder that we now live in a world where a strongly worded tweet involving the president could trigger an international incident.