President Donald Trump's presence on Twitter may have jaded some people from using the platform — too much vitriol and horse pucky for one social network. But put that in the barn for a while, because Twitter, as a whole, offers value to users, especially those interested in politics.
Twitter connects constituents to their elected representatives, allowing them to interact in a manner unseen in democratic history. It also enables Americans to witness the inner workings of a politician's office, including all the pageantry and base triviality that comes with the job.
Most U.S. politicians delegate Twitter duties to lowly interns who merely share their boss's statements or photo opportunities. Some politicians, however, directly handle their own accounts, writing tweets that candidly express their thoughts on a given issue.
A few of these politicians have mastered the art of Twitter, contributing to the discourse of the day while maintaining a sense of humanity that seems to elude the current president. Others are just plain old entertaining.
Contrary to popular (and oftentimes reasonable) belief, there are members of Congress who are absolutely worth following on Twitter. Indeed, some of these politicians are among the most distinctive and valuable on social media inside or outside of the Beltway. If Twitter users need to remind themselves that Trump is not the only public figure on the internet with his hands on the levers, this is a list of respectable politicians who make social media almost — that's almost — worthwhile.
Adam Schiff, @RepAdamSchiff
A U.S. representative for the Hollywood-Glendale, California, area, Adam Schiff is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff, a Democrat, is also currently leading one of the investigations into Russia's election interference, an exceptionally complicated matter that few understand.
But it's more than that which makes Schiff worth a follow. Overall, he's been one of the few members of Congress who can distill the ongoing investigations. His tweets provide insight into how Russia interfered and what role, if any, the Trump campaign had in assisting those efforts.
Russian social media campaign sought to hurt Clinton, help Trump & sow discord. All ads must be released.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 1, 2017
With respect, Mr. President, not sure we can rely on Mr. Manafort’s lawyer to tell us whether there was collusion, as unbiased as he may be. https://t.co/Iy9rJGaoiF
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) October 31, 2017
Schiff also has a firm grasp on foreign policy issues at large and is particularly outspoken against the depletion of the State Department; in addition, he advocates for more diplomacy perpetrated by the Trump administration.
The Foreign Service is as integral to stability and security as the military. By hollowing out the State Dept, Trump is doing lasting damage https://t.co/jtDviHSlT6 — Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 9, 2017
Justin Amash, @justinamash
A U.S. representative from western Michigan, Justin Amash is the chairman of the Liberty Caucus in the House of Representatives. Amash, a Republican, is one of the few libertarians in Congress who holds true to his principles, making him a true relief from and counter to many of his colleagues. Amash has been praised by the ACLU for his work on civil liberties and frequently uses his Twitter platform to explain his stance on issues.
Amash has gained notoriety, in part, because he's been a vocal critic of Trump. He's been unafraid to push back against the president when the White House has tried to quash dissent.
They are our fellow Americans with legitimate concerns. We need to stop acting so fragile. I'm proud to defend liberty and the Constitution. https://t.co/2CcD02mXzl
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) February 22, 2017
Dude, just stop. https://t.co/UCIqhqGnXu
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 15, 2017
Amash has clearly made his name known in the White House, as he's been the target of scorn from Trump aides and staffers.
Amash doesn't seem all that concerned that he's on the wrong side of the president. He's always reliable to call out Trump, even if it displeases some of his constituents.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) September 27, 2017
Elizabeth Warren, @SenWarren
A frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Elizabeth Warren is one of the most prominent voices in America, let alone on Twitter. The progressive senator from Massachusetts has been a beacon of hope for Democrats hoping for a comeback after the disastrous 2016 elections. Warren uses her platform on Twitter to go after the president, criticizing his agenda whenever it disproportionately affects poor people. If an outsider to politics wants to know what the Democratic Party stands for — or at least, what it should stand for — a glimpse at Warren's Twitter account would light the way.
The future of 700k Dreamers as American as you & me hangs in the balance. Do your job, Mr. President. Stop playing politics & fix this. — Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) November 2, 2017
Marco Rubio, @marcorubio The Florida senator's best self is on Twitter. Democrats perpetually find themselves annoyed with Rubio, who at times presents himself as the only sensible Republican in Congress, but often fails to live up to that caricature. Rubio has done little on the Hill to challenge the Trump administration. He has, however, consistently used his Twitter account to take subtle shots at the president. In the form of subtweets, Rubio likes to quote scripture on Twitter, conveniently citing quotes from Proverbs that happen to be pertinent to news about the White House.
"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." Proverbs 25:28 — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 25, 2017
Better to be poor and walk in integrity than rich and crooked in one’s ways. Proverbs 19:1 — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 19, 2017
You have been snared by the utterance of your lips, caught by the words of your mouth; Proverbs 6:2 — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 6, 2017
One who winks at a fault causes trouble, but one who frankly reproves promotes peace. Proverbs 10:10 — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 14, 2017
"Do not rebuke the mocker he will hate you. Rebuke the wise & he will love you for it" Proverbs 9:8 — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 9, 2017
While this form of resistance will not bring down the president, few can deny these tweets are wildly entertaining.
Al Franken, @SenFranken, @alfranken Much like his senatorial office, Al Franken does not use his platform on Twitter to crack jokes or relive his glory years on "Saturday Night Live." The progressive Minnesotan has taken his job seriously since entering the Senate, and his Twitter account often reflects that professionalism. Franken often tweets about how he is helping his constituents back at home. With this, his Twitter account becomes a window into the day-to-day life of a senator's office and demonstrates that, yes, some members of Congress actually do care about improving the lives of Americans.
Today I attended an @IndianCommittee roundtable discussion on the #opioid epidemic in Indian Country. I’m glad we were joined by Jeri Jasken of Minnesota’s White Earth MOMs program. pic.twitter.com/zsDvUG89JF — Sen. Al Franken (@SenFranken) November 9, 2017
Yesterday my staff visited Luverne Elementary School in Minnesota to learn about a weekly reading program called Bookin' Buddies, which pairs up community members with second grader students to read. pic.twitter.com/U0Xm1PxWYY
— Sen. Al Franken (@SenFranken) November 9, 2017
In 2016, I helped secure a $12 million grant from the Department of Interior to fix and improve the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School. pic.twitter.com/haOmy9JLRw
— Sen. Al Franken (@SenFranken) November 7, 2017
Franken also utilizes Twitter to spread his Democratic values, making his account one of the key channels of the Democratic Party.
As a member of Senate Education Committee, I’m working hard to improve our education system for all students because I believe every child should have access to a high-quality education. — Sen. Al Franken (@SenFranken) November 9, 2017
The Trump Administration has done everything to undermine the Affordable Care Act, but we have the power to combat these efforts. Let’s get people enrolled for health care coverage. pic.twitter.com/c5g6EOBWdq — Sen. Al Franken (@SenFranken) November 9, 2017
It’s no secret that consumers have the deck stacked against them when they challenge wrongdoing by big banks, Wall Street, & corporations.
— Sen. Al Franken (@SenFranken) November 1, 2017
John McCain, @SenJohnMcCain
Sen. John McCain is often hailed as a maverick in Congress. In 2017, he lived up to that label, proving that, at least for him, country can come before party. The Arizona senator helped defeat the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and has called for order in the Senate. He has also used his Twitter account to propagate his views, often delineating his positions from those held by the rest of his party.
The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of. — John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) November 9, 2017
To refuse US leadership for half-baked nationalism is as unpatriotic as any dogma consigned to ash heap of history https://t.co/Y07Sxa1b7V pic.twitter.com/Jf1nit7X3n — John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) October 17, 2017
Kamala Harris, @KamalaHarris The freshman senator from California represents the future of the Democratic Party. Appropriately, she has a strong Twitter game that highlights her platform.
The historic wins across the country last night for women, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color, and Americans of every faith, showed our diversity is our strength. — Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 8, 2017
In this past year, we have demonstrated that we can and will combat these difficult times together. Let’s keep fighting. — Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 9, 2017
Sexual harassment and assault are real in this country, from movie sets to newsrooms to factory floors. And we need to confront it.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 10, 2017
We know affordable education sets our children up for success, and we cannot let the next generation graduate with immoral amounts of debt. That’s why I support pathways to free tuition at public colleges and universities.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 9, 2017
Jeff Flake, @JeffFlake
The other senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake, announced his intentions to retire from Congress when his term ends. Flake has found few allies in the Senate, as the conservative has witnessed his party abandon its ideals for the convenience of Trump and his regressive ideology. Untethered from the daunting challenge of re-election, Flake now openly defies the Republican Party, using Twitter to voice his protest.
Actually, the Gang of 8, including @SenSchumer, did away with the Diversity Visa Program as part of broader reforms. I know, I was there https://t.co/QQFJzPyRzC — Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) November 1, 2017
Amy Klobuchar, @amyklobuchar The senior senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar is also considered a favorite for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Klobuchar is a leading voice of the Democratic Party, and her Twitter account accurately represents her tenure in office. She also enjoys tweeting about Minnesota's sports teams, which is nice.
As cochair of Senate adoption caucus, I can’t support cutting adoption tax credit. Should be encouraging adoption so kids find loving home. https://t.co/PFplTIMHnx — Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) November 3, 2017
Wow! More than 20,000 women have shown interest in running for office. https://t.co/ls2SwxQ39l
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) October 30, 2017
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) October 28, 2017
Bob Corker, @SenBobCorker
Sen. Bob Corker, like Sen. Flake, has announced that he will not run for re-election. The Republican from Tennessee obviously does not appreciate where his party is heading under Trump's leadership. Corker's decision to retire riled up the president, who decided to tweet his displeasure at the senator. In turn, Corker struck back at Trump with a set of tweets that could be considered some of the best of 2017.
It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning. — Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) October 8, 2017
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, @RosLehtinen A U.S. representative of south Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is one of the few moderate Republicans in Congress. She also one of the more active politicians on Twitter. The congresswoman bucks her party from time to time, making her a must-follow for people tired of all the tribalism in politics. She also tweets in Spanish for her constituents.
Joined my GOP colleagues 2 support our #Dreamers b/c this is their home, this is where they've grown up, this is the language they speak, and to tear them apart from this land that they love would be heartless. pic.twitter.com/96vCa2eQFh — Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) November 10, 2017
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) November 10, 2017
Brian Schatz, @brianschatz
Sen. Brian Schatz is a prolific tweeter who often targets Republicans for their moral rot.
Representative Chris Collins confessed that donors are telling him to cut their taxes "or don't ever call again." That's why this bill raises taxes on middle class families. — Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) November 9, 2017
I’m thinking maybe we should have a hearing about the bill before the vote, and maybe bipartisan participation. We could call it “Congress.” — Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) November 2, 2017
Every Republican voted for Jeff Sessions. Enjoy your Sunday. — Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) November 5, 2017
Solid burns all.
Adam Kinzinger, @RepKinzinger
Much like other Republicans on this list, Adam Kinzinger has not been one of Trump's biggest fans. A U.S. congressman from Illinois, Kinzinger is a military veteran who does not think highly of Trump's Twitter habits. Kinzinger is also an expert on foreign policy and is in favor of giving the space needed to special counsel Robert Mueller.
As I’ve said from day one, the American people deserve answers, transparency & the truth. Important to allow Mueller to do his job. — Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) October 30, 2017
Bernie Sanders, @SenSanders Sen. Bernie Sanders made a name for himself during the 2016 presidential election. The Independent senator from Vermont won over many with his progressive economic platform. While Sanders may have become a household name in 2016, he's been a known quantity on Twitter for many years. As he did on the campaign trail, Sanders articulates his positions on Twitter clearly and concisely. If someone wants to know how the American left is viewing things, Sanders is a must-follow.
If that were the case, I can assure you the Koch brothers, Trump and other billionaires would not be pushing so hard for this plan. https://t.co/uukh24ASlJ — Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 9, 2017
Corporate tax loopholes have become so absurd that one five-story building in the Cayman Islands is “home” to nearly 20,000 corporations. pic.twitter.com/L1YCapJ3qA — Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 8, 2017
Chuck Grassley, @ChuckGrassley Sen. Chuck Grassley is worth a follow on Twitter simply for his personal war on the History Channel, now named "History." The Iowa Republican does not appreciate the network's programming and sardonically informs his followers whenever the channel actually covers history. It's some tight, tight dragging.
Hurry Hurry watch some history on History Channel before it disappears for something not so historical — ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) December 25, 2016
If u don't like history now is time to go HISTORY CHANNEL and u can watch PAWN STARS — ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) December 29, 2016
Chris Murphy, @ChrisMurphyCT The senator from Connecticut uses the social media network as a weapon against the NRA and Republicans. If you ever need a shot of espresso in the fight against the gun lobby, look him up.
Can you sleep tonight, colleagues, when the price of gun lobby goodwill is this - blood soaked church and school floors, city streets? — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) November 5, 2017
Let's be clear - nobody "stopped" this shooting. 26 people, including little kids, are dead in one of our country's worst mass killings. https://t.co/MP2ZxrUEoo — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) November 6, 2017
Elise Stefanik, @EliseStefanik The youngest member of Congress, Elise Stefanik is a Republican who represents parts of Upstate New York. A co-chair of the moderate Tuesday Group, Stefanik could be one of the Republicans who can help lead the party out of the Dark Ages (a.k.a. the Trump era). As a sensible Republican, her presence on Twitter serves a reminder that the party isn't completely dysfunctional.
Keith Ellison, @keithellison One of the leading progressives in the Democratic Party, Rep. Keith Ellison is a necessary follow on Twitter. The Minnesota congressman often shares news stories and editorials that are relevant to progressive causes, activating Democratic voters and helping to forge the future of the party.
Ok, Dems kicked butt last night; now let’s go defeat the plutocratic Republican tax scam bill and organize in every zip code. Who’s down for it? — Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) November 8, 2017
Rand Paul, @Rand Paul
It's been a strange year for Sen. Rand Paul. He's been a victim of an assault by his neighbor and a golfing partner of Trump — both shocking developments. As a libertarian, Paul is not always in lockstep with the Republican Party, making him a loose cannon of sorts. While Paul is no friend of liberals, his Twitter account acts as an MRI looking into the mind of a libertarian.
You know you are in too many wars in too many places when even warmonger Lindsay Graham can’t keep track anymore — Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 23, 2017
Nearly all Republican Senators just failed a litmus test on cutting spending. — Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 19, 2017
Ted Lieu, @tedlieu Because Trump is the literal embodiment of a Twitter troll, at least one Democrat in Congress has to fight fire with fire. Rep. Ted Lieu serves that purpose, often attacking the president for his corruptive tendencies. The header image on his account compares former President Barack Obama's inauguration photo to that of Trump's, a devastating blow to the current president's ego.
Why did @realDonaldTrump use this picture? Because the other picture included Trump personnel that have been indicted, pled guilty or will be indicted. Also, why does Jared Kushner still have a security clearance? https://t.co/EfO0oXJ1Ij — Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) November 8, 2017
Orrin Hatch, @senorrinhatch
Sen. Orrin Hatch has hinted that this could be his final term in office. Whatever you feel about him, his Twitter account would be missed.
The senator from Utah can be rather droll in committee hearings, but his tweets are anything but that.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) October 14, 2017
He also gave a shoutout to the president of the Salon Conservatives Club, which earns him points.
Happy birthday @byrdinator. She may hit Senators with books and nearly trip them on escalators, but she writes a great #infrastructure story pic.twitter.com/2L3aZDGrvq — Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) October 17, 2017
Cory Booker, @CoryBooker
Another possible candidate for the Democratic Party in the 2020 presidential election, Sen. Cory Booker is active on Twitter. Booker uses his social media better than anyone to connect with his constituents, making him a must-follow.
Thank you to all who voted & made their voices heard! Thanks also to all Americans who worked, volunteered, and got involved in the election. Pundits predicted voter turn out would be at "historic lows" in NJ. We proved them wrong. Let's stay vigilant and stay involved.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 8, 2017
Advice to me as a teenager from my high school football coach after a game: “Don’t get too high on your highs or too low on your lows and always, the day after, get back to work.”
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 8, 2017
Mazie Hirono, @maziehirono
Perhaps one of the toughest members of Congress, Sen. Mazie Hirono is currently fighting the Trump administration with stage-four cancer. Hirono's Twitter account documents her daily battles, providing inspiration for all of her followers.
Wanted to share a quick update on my health. Starting immunotherapy to fight my cancer, and don't expect it will keep me from the fight. pic.twitter.com/6Tetpe6QGl — Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) October 31, 2017
Corporations that would benefit from GOP tax plan won't share profits with workers, they'll just get richer. Any other idea is shibai- B.S. pic.twitter.com/X5vJQuNfnc — Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) November 2, 2017
I didn't speak English when I came to Hawaii. I learned in our public schools & am fighting for every family to have the same opportunity. — Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) August 5, 2017
Tim Kaine, @timkaine The former Democratic nominee for vice president, Sen. Tim Kaine has not given up the fight for Democratic ideals. His Twitter account is an open book on his positions and shows where Democratic leadership is at on a given issue.
We hear a lot about how the GOP tax plan gives benefits to the top—but ya know what? It also could *raise* middle class taxes for millions. — Tim Kaine (@timkaine) November 6, 2017
This is one of many important steps towards addressing and combating pervasive sexual harassment—I'm glad to see it implemented across offices, and hope other workplaces will follow suit. https://t.co/ibezEWFqrQ
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) November 9, 2017
Maxine Waters, @RepMaxineWaters
Rep. Maxine Waters may not be the most active politician on Twitter, but the congresswoman is a tour de force as of late whenever she drops a tweet on the Trump administration.
The sexual harassment enterprise aka fake news Fox News & Russian trolls are at it again. The only harm I can cause Trump is impeachment. — Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) October 23, 2017
Gen. Kelly, you earned 4 stars & had a successful career. Now you've fallen prey to a "moron" in an effort to protect his career. Apologize. — Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) October 21, 2017
Even the most honorable people are not immune to being overtaken by the filth wreaking from the Trump White House day after day. — Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) October 21, 2017
Trump has no business calling anyone "wacky" when his own Sec. of State is ashamed of him and thinks he's a moron. — Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) October 21, 2017