It was supposed to be a feel-good moment for the Republicans in the limelight, for their first session in control of the US Congress.
But instead it was overshadowed by a public outcry and a telling-off from President-elect Trump, with the Republicans having to back-track on a plan to take away some of the powers of a congressional ethics watchdog.
And again it was a Tweet from Trump that stirred things up, with the Republicans told they had more urgent priorities to deal with.
With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 3 janvier 2017
……..may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 3 janvier 2017
Tweet over Russian cyber hacking claims
Also on Twitter, Trump has returned to the thorny issue over claims that Russia carried out cyber hacking during the election campaign, in favour of a Trump victory.
He was scornful about the delay of a briefing he is due to receive from US intelligence officials on the matter.
The “Intelligence” briefing on so-called “Russian hacking” was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 4 janvier 2017
Trump continues to voice skepticism about the claims made by intelligence agencies. It was not clear when the briefing had originally been scheduled to take place.
Trump, who is set to be sworn in on January the 20th, is raising eyebrows around the world with his apparent preference for limited, blunt Tweets to communicate his thoughts on sensitive issues.
Tweet on the North Korea nuclear question
“It won’t happen!” vowed Trump in another outburst on Twitter this week, talking tough on North Korea and its repeated nuclear threats.
The North Korean leader said on Sunday that his nation was close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile.
But taking to Twitter, the US President-elect hit back.
North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 2 janvier 2017
Trump also took a swipe at China on the issue.
China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 2 janvier 2017
Trump has not yet outlined any official policy on North Korea, although during the race for the White House he did say he would be willing to talk to its leader.
Beijing responded to Trump’s criticism by saying that its hard work towards denuclearising the Korean peninsula was obvious to everyone.
South Korea responded by saying the Tweets by the US-President-elect show that he is aware of the urgency of the threat posed by the north.
Trump lashes out against North Korea, China in latest tweets https://t.co/Sof6g3J8MC— CNBC (@CNBC) January 3, 2017
To Tweet or not to Tweet
The President-elect’s habit of making public announcements via Twitter looks set to continue, even though they are short phrases void of any detail or context. Tweets are limited to 140 characters.
seanspicer</a> on Trump’s use of Twitter: “The fact of the matter is that when he tweets he gets results.” <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThisWeek?src=hash">#ThisWeek</a> <a href="https://t.co/L4C506T1Qx">pic.twitter.com/L4C506T1Qx</a></p>— This Week (ThisWeekABC) January 1, 2017
Some commentators have said that Trump will almost certainly have to reduce his use of social media such as Twitter when he takes office later this month, at least when it comes to serious and sensitive policy.
But there is no indication yet that the President-elect plans to make any change to his method of communicating.
He also made it clear during campaigning that he wanted to make a break from the past and reinvent the office of president.
CNN (@CNN) January 2, 2017
MSNBC (@MSNBC) December 28, 2016
Now you can fact-check Trump’s tweets — in the tweets themselves https://t.co/6mU30Z8jHD— The Independent (@Independent) December 26, 2016