Leaning further into a burgeoning economic war with China of his own design, Donald Trump on Friday levied a series of bizarre demands of American companies who do business in the country.
They included an order for American firms to cease production in China.
“Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”
The proclamation, which the president does not have the power to enforce, might have been expected to unleash a wave of panic and terror among America’s mostly capitalist citizenry – such state-mandated orders are, after all, the stuff of planned-economy communist countries.
But instead, America’s Twitter-sphere resorted mainly to mocking Trump and his rhetorical flourishes. Soon “I hereby order” was taking on a life of its own: from top politicians down to the man-in-the-street Twitter inhabitant.
As long as we are claiming constitutional powers we don't have, I hereby order the President to stop tweeting.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) August 23, 2019
Congressman Adam Schiff, a frequent critic of Trump, was among the many on Twitter to make light of the concept of issuing decrees via tweet as if one were an all powerful wizard (or monarch).
Trump likes to say "hereby" when he is making an order that he has no power to make. pic.twitter.com/K1wCqB0KnO— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 23, 2019
It's so cute he threw in "hereby" as if it means anything.— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 23, 2019
"I hereby order the Cubs to win their next 20 games."
I hereby order the Stock Market to go up and our Great Economy to do even better!— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) August 23, 2019
Congressman Eric Swalwell pointed out the irony of a president so adamantly against socialism using his executive power to dictate how businesses operate by the whims of his desires when that is how people like him often falsely characterize it.
George Conway, another regular opponent, urged others to pile on, starting the hashtag #iherebyorder on Friday afternoon.
I hereby order everyone on Twitter to hereby order something. #Iherebyorder— George Conway (@gtconway3d) August 23, 2019
Like others, he also took the opportunity to shift the focus to the state of Trump’s alleged deteriorating mental health.
Curiously, but perhaps unsurprisingly considering this is the internet, more than a few people used the developing meme as a chance to post pictures and videos of dogs.
We hereby order you give us treats! pic.twitter.com/TQtdvFKN7w— Steve Schale (@steveschale) August 23, 2019
I hereby order all of you to RT this gif because it's awesome. pic.twitter.com/s5J8gMKTK1— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) August 23, 2019
Some even took the idea that there could be actual thought and intent behind the president’s words seriously.
A president cannot simply “hereby order” American companies to act as he directs. That said...look out for the possibility of a presidential declaration of, that’s right, a “national emergency” with respect to trade and China, opening the door for him to use... https://t.co/oWEhe0tHyV— Bobby Chesney (@BobbyChesney) August 23, 2019
In short, it was simply another weird day under the Trump administration, during a week in which he has already called himself “The Chosen One” and picked a fight with Denmark because of its refusal to consider selling him Greenland.