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tv   Nightline  ABC  January 18, 2017 12:37am-1:08am PST

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, commander in tweet. his mastery of social media helped propel him to power. >> you know, i tweeted today @realdonaldtrump. i tweeted. >> with great power comes great responsibility. >> he is way too thin-skinned. >> the president-elect rattling his cyber saber, even using it to block high schoolers on twitter. >> i called him a reject cheeto. >> with just three days to inauguration, could his tweeting have global repercussions? plus -- >> i am the luckiest old broad on tv. >> betty white of "the golden girls" celebrating her 95th birthday with katie couric. >> when people hear your name, what do you hope they think of? >> oh, she's so gorgeous and sexy.
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inaugural baller. president-elect trump sparing no expense for friday's festivities expected to cost $200 million. who's paying for it? first the "nightline 5." my advice for looking younger longer? get your beauty sleep and use aveeno night cream with blackberry complex. younger-looking skin can start today. absolutely ageless from aveeno. want hart burn relief? try duo fusion. duo fusion goes to work in seconds and lasts up to 12 hours. tums only lasts up to three. for relief in one chewable tablet, duo fusion from the makers of zantac. >> number one coming up in just 60 seconds.
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it's one of the most controversial habits of our fiery incoming president. tweeting. sometimes in the middle of the night. donald trump says it's his way of communicating directly with the masses. however, most americans say they want him to cut it out. wait until you hear what happened to one high school junior who tweeted at trump and what he has to say about it now. here's my "nightline" coanchor juju chang. >> reporter: it's dawn in a suburb outside detroit. >> usually wake me up for a regular day of school. i don't like it. >> reporter: and like a typical teenager, part of antonio delotero's routine, checking his social media. when it comes to twitter this 16-year-old junior class president is not at all typical. he seems to have made a very powerful enemy. the next president of the united states. donald trump. dubbed the tweeter in chief, trump's use of twitter, prolific and provocative. >> all day today trump unleashing a firestorm of tweets. >> reporter: stoking global
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feuds and controversy here at home. >> less than 20 minutes later, the president-elect firing off these tweets. >> reporter: one of the main tools he's wielded in his rise to power, his megaphone, aimed not just at the powerful but at individual citizens like antonio, who dared express a teenager's dissent. >> i called him a reject cheeto. it was pretty crazy because it was the first time a tweet of mine has ever received that kind of attention. >> reporter: the tweet got thousands of likes and retweets and a lot of hate. and then he was blocked by the real donald trump. >> how do you interpret this man, the next president of the united states, blocking a 16-year-old high school student? >> i thought, okay, my tweet was definitely immature. it was weird to have him block someone. >> reporter: blocking means antonio could no longer directly see any of donald trump's tweets. and he's far from an isolated case. >> you're blocked by the person in line to become the leader of
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the free world. >> i'm now in this group that doesn't -- isn't as important as this other group. >> reporter: we spoke to more than a dozen. but since twitter won't comment on users' blocking habits it's hard to know exactly how many have been blocked. but there were enough that a hash tag was born, #blockedbytrump. known as commander in tweet trump credits his tweets to helping him win the white house. >> between facebook and twitter, i have i guess more than 40 million people. that's a modern-day form of communication. i get it out much faster than a press release. >> reporter: now as he's about to take on the mantle of commander in chief, his use of twitter as his chosen platform to launch political attacks and policy is drawing widespread concern. in fact, a recent survey found that 64% of americans want trump to shut down his personal twitter account once he takes office. on the campaign trail, trump himself promised to change his twitter ways. >> don't worry, i'll give it up after i'm president, we won't
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tweet anymore. not presidential. >> reporter: but just this weekend he reversed course. telling "the times of london" he's keeping his personal account, claiming, i am covered so dishonestly by the press, so dishonestly. >> thank you for the food we're about to receive, amen. >> reporter: it was tweet from that personal account plus campaign rhetoric like this -- >> they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists. we have to have a temporary ban on muslims coming into this country. i'm sorry. >> reporter: that spurred the then 15-year-old american who's half middle eastern, half cuban, to vent his frustrations on twitter. as a hispanic-american you took that personally? >> i did, yeah, for sure. it's two groups of people he has viciously attacked over his election, and it obviously angered me. >> reporter: of course, 16-year-old antonio has very little in common with conservative radio talk show host joe walsh, except one thing. >> for him to block me because of one or two negative things
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surprised me. >> reporter: the former republican congressman and vocal trump supporter says he's been blocked by trump since fall of 2015 after criticizing his comments about megyn kelly and senator john mccain. >> what's so ironic is that's what trump says he does. he says what he believes, good or bad. you would think that he would respect somebody who says what they think. >> do you think all american citizens should be able to see donald trump's tweets? >> heck, yes. he's our president. i will say this again, as a trump supporter, mr. trump, if you're listening, he is way too thin-skinned. >> reporter: trump's aggressive and unapologetic tweets helped launch his campaign for president. he tweeted early and often about the birther movement, the conspiracy theory that obama wasn't born in the u.s. it took years for him to back down. once on the campaign trail, his tweeting went into overdrive.
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so i've been covering donald trump for the past 11 months and i've never actually seen him send a tweet, mostly because he usually tweets during the wee hours of the night or very early in the morning. >> reporter: while many of his tweets may seem like impulsive 3:00 a.m. bombshells, they often masterfully control the news cycle. >> donald trump is a master at manipulating the news cycle and he uses twitter to help him. one example, he was tweeting that meryl streep was overrated at the same time his cabinet nominees were undergoing heated confirmation hearings on capitol hill. >> reporter: since the election he hasn't hesitated to tweet his way into very sensitive territory of global diplomacy, which can rattle unpredictable regimes like north korea, or strike fear in global corporations. >> when trump tweets as president-elect it's having an impact. nowhere can you see that more clearly than in stock prices. for example, when he sent out a negative tweet about lockheed martin, automatically the stock started to fall. meantime that same tweet mentioned boeing positively, that stock went up.
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>> reporter: he's not above an errant tweet. yesterday tweeting at the wrong ivanka, eliciting this response. you're a man with great responsibilities, may i suggest more care on twitter and more time learning about climate change? the trump team didn't respond to our requests for comment. but tonight trump himself spoke out on fox. >> what about twitter? are you going to continue to tweet? >> yeah, look, i don't like tweeting. i have other things i could be doing. >> reporter: there is a long history of presidential politics trying to bypass the press and trying to communicate directly with the american people. >> somebody like franklin d. roosevelt who uses his fireside chats. quite effectively. to get out the message, a very specific, targeted message, to get around his critics. >> and that is why our social security program is an important part of the complete picture. >> reporter: ronald reagan talked to the public unfiltered every saturday. >> i won't hesitate to put our case before the american people. >> if i want a press release, i put it on twitter.
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>> one of the things his supporters like is that he's just like them. even though he's not. meaning that he tweets like them. he talks like them. >> reporter: but she cautions, as president, he's not at all like them. >> if we're having a president who is blocking all access and trying to discredit the press, we don't have people that are holding the president's feet to the fire. >> reporter: being blocked by trump gained antonio delotero a bit of twitter fame. >> 52,000 retweets. >> you had 52,000 retweets? >> reporter: but a lot of haters too. >> hopefully you'll go over the wall and never come back. really baseless stuff. >> somebody tweeted hitler photo to you. >> yeah. >> this is all tweeted at you? >> uh-huh. >> this is horrifying. >> reporter: hate tweets from strangers, morphed into hate tweets from classmates. >> they made a hate page where they produced tons of false stuff. >> what kinds of insults were
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thrown in your direction? >> they goes like, terrorist. they would call me a bunch of slurs. tell me that they're going to throw me over the wall. >> reporter: antonio's parents say they've never faced this kind of bigotry before. >> we discussed deleting his account. he's entitled to his voice. freedom of speech. >> can't run away from things. >> reporter: the twitter hate page against antonio was eventually taken down after school officials and the local police stepped in. >> it's toughened your skin, hasn't it? >> it has, yeah. >> and it's stiffened your resolve, sounds like. >> uh-huh. >> reporter: antonio, who sees political activism in his future now, has become an inspiration to his friends. >> being around him, how he was unafraid, made me feel like, well, i should speak up as well. >> reporter: trump is still a topic of conversation for this group. >> your president has you blocked. >> yeah. >> still have you blocked?
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>> i check every day. i haven't checked it since the weekend because i was busy. oh, look at it, finally. >> you're unblocked? >> there we go, unblocked. >> sometime over the weekend you were unblocked by donald trump. >> reporter: we checked back with the others who told us they too were blocked by trump, but none of them say they've been unblocked. the whole experience has taught antonio something else. how to respectfully disagree. you don't do snarky tweets anymore? >> no, definitely not what i used to do. >> why? >> because -- if i want people to maintain a level of maturity, i should be maintaining that level of maturity myself. >> reporter: antonio wastes no time crafting his first tweet to trump after being unblocked. >> first reply that he can actually view in a long time. i hope he sees it. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm juju chang in flat rock, michigan. next, betty white turns 95. what she says was her most fun but scariest tv appearance in a long and storied career.
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we should all we should all be as lucky as betty white, who turned 95 today and is as radiant and as charming as ever. she sat down with yahoo! global news anchor katie couric to talk about her favorite tv moments and her thought on how to heal a divided america. ♪ happy birthday to you >> isn't that beautiful. >> this is a big birthday for you, betty. >> 95. >> can you believe it? >> nope. you know, seriously, i can't. >> reporter: betty white has been on television for almost as long as television has been around. >> betty white! >> reporter: 1953 "life with
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elizabeth." to "mary tyler moore show." >> oh my poor baby! >> reporter: 20 years later betty white was already a fixture in the living rooms of millions of americans. ♪ thank you for being a friend >> reporter: but it was in 1985 as rose nylan from st. olaf, minnesota, from "the golden girls," that she won the hearts of a new generation. >> dorothy, you're the smart one. blanch, you're the sexy one. sofia, you're the old one. and i'm the nice one. everybody always likes me. >> the old one isn't so crazy about you. >> how would you feel if they did remake "the golden girls"? >> i'd want to do it. >> you would? i'm sure they'd want you. >> oh, i'm sure, at 95. i'm sure they'd want me.
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>> you were almost blanch instead of rose. >> yes. yes. but then all of a sudden rose came up and i loved her. because she was so innocent. and not the brightest nickel in the drawer. >> go on, it would do us both a world of good to hear the things you'd change about me. >> oh, well, there is one thing, rose. >> really? >> yeah. >> she was fun to do. >> reporter: why not? everyone else seems to. betty white is one of the most welcomed guest stars on television. she tackled football's biggest night with this unforgettable snickers ad from the 2010 super bowl. >> what's your deal, man? >> oh, come on you've been riding me all day. >> you're playing like betty white out there. >> that's not what your girlfriend says. >> what was the most fun gig you've ever had? >> there's been so many of them. >> the snickers commercial? >> that was great fun. >> reporter: even became the oldest host in the history of "saturday night live."
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>> that was probably the most fun i've ever had. and the scariest. just the fact of being up there and doing it and talking to the audience. in the back of your mind you're thinking, i'm doing "saturday night live". >> people say, but betty, facebook is a great way to connect with old friends. well, at my age if i want to connect with old friends, i need a ouija board. >> when people hear your name, what do you hope they think of? >> oh -- she's so gorgeous and sexy. no, i don't. i just appreciate the fact that people have been so kind to me all these years. the fact that i'm still working. that's the thing i'm most grateful for, that i still get asked for jobs. >> reporter: she's still paying it forward, caring for her beloved animals and spreading a positive message at a time when positivity is sorely needed. what do you think about the
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state of our country and how divided it seems to be? >> it's very divided. and we're not in the best place we've ever been. but i think that's the time to buckle down and really work positively as much as you can. i know it sounds boring. but i am a positive thinker. i'm a cock-eyed optimist. that's why i've stayed happy my whole life. >> reporter: for "nightline" i'm katie couric in los angeles. >> you can see katie's full interview with betty white at coming up next, on the money trail investigating the millions of dollars pouring in to underwrite donald trump's inaugural festivities. is this what draining the swamp looks like? when you've got an uncontrollable cough, take delsym, the #1 12-hour cough medicine. it helps control the impulse to cough for 12 hours. which means,
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finally, donald trump has pledged to drain the swamp in washington. so what do we make of the millions pouring in from corporations and wealthy people to fund trump's inauguration festivities? abc's chief investigative correspondent brian ross is on
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the money trail. >> reporter: much as he did with his beauty pageants -- ♪ money money money >> reporter: and his nbc program "the apprentice," the president-elect is reportedly personally involved in the tiniest of details for his inauguration. american taxpayers, as they have for years, will pay for the official part of the program. which stand-ins are practicing this week. some $115 million for the platform in front of the capitol along with security and other trappings of power. another $90 million to $100 million, much more than ever before, will come from private money, corporations and the wealthy who can choose from the trump menu of inauguration packages, including tickets to a candlelight dinner, a concert and fireworks, an inaugural ball. >> for $500,000, you can get four tickets. but i needed eight. so i had to send $1 million. of the $90 million, i'm $1 million of that.
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>> reporter: casino owner phil ruffian was trump's business partner in las vegas and is a vice chair of the inaugural committee. >> staying at the new trump hotel. $18,000 a night, guaranteed five nights. so it's pricey. >> reporter: indeed. the place to stay for anyone courting the next president is trump's own hotel, just down pennsylvania avenue from the white house. already the bar scene here jammed with washington's new a-list. >> these are not necessarily people who know where the fork and the knife go at the dinner table. but they know how to get things done. >> reporter: all for a president who initially campaigned saying he did not need special interests and their money, that he wanted to drain the swamp. >> i don't need anybody's money. i'm using my own money. i'm not using the lobbyists, i'm not using donors, i don't care. i'm really rich. >> reporter: but now trump's inaugural committee is taking huge contributions from some of the biggest corporations that will need a good relationship with the next president. big banks seeking to limit
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government regulations. corporations which want approval for giant mergers. and america's billionaire elite, like phil ruffian. >> we'll know a lot of people there. people i've done business with, people that we know. i'm looking forward to it. >> thank you, brian. one quick note, the names of the donors are being kept secret for now, but under the law there is no limit to how much they can give and their names don't have to be revealed for three months. thank you for watching abc news tonight. as always we're online 24/7 at and our "nightline" facebook page. thanks for watching and good night.
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