US POLITICS

Is Donald Trump Dialing Back His Twitter Rage?

Data shows that a week after firing his campaign manager, Trump is marginally less shouty

US POLITICS
Make Trump tweet like Trump again? — AFP/Getty Images
Jun 28, 2016 at 9:52 AM ET

Donald Trump shocked the political world by unceremoniously firing his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, last Monday. Lewandowski, who’d helmed the billionaire’s campaign for more than year, was escorted out of Trump Tower just minutes after regularly scheduled meeting between top Trump officials. Some Trump detractors celebrated the firing, a sign of instability just weeks before the convention—but for his supporters, there may have been a silver lining: Without Lewandowski, a controversial and inexperienced manager, would the campaign finally turn “presidential”?

The id-like center of the Trump campaign has undeniably been Twitter, where the candidate has spent the last year blasting out his least polished missives, laden with taunts, wild punctuation and hyperbole. But, in the week after Lewandowski’s departure, it seems, the tone may be (maybe!) gently settling.

In the past week, tweets that would usually feature exclamation points now end in reserved periods. Sentences which were usually peppered with ALL-CAPS RANTS now have normal punctuation. Irate tweets now feel more declaratory and civil. Vocativ crunched the numbers for a week immediately before and and a week after Corey’s exit, and found that the candidate has been tweeting more—but shouting less.

The sample size here is obviously small—just a week of tweets from a very prolific user—but Lewandowski’s abrupt exit does seem to coincide very neatly with a recent change of tone. Lewandowski’s quick-tempered and aggressive personality was long a source of discontent within the Trump camp, especially after he was accused of yanking the arm of then Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields at a press conference in March. When he helmed the campaign, we’d frequently see tweets like this:

Post-Lewandowski, Trump’s tweets have pretty consistently more composed, more adult, less knee-jerk.

Donald Trump has always maintained that he runs his Twitter account himself. According to NPR, Trump dictates them to someone on staff during the day, and then posts them himself at night. But, perhaps someone on the campaign is coaching the candidate to moderate his tone (or, you know, hiding his phone when major news breaks). There are also rumors that Trump’s adult children, who are said to have pushed out Lewandowski, are stepping up and playing a bigger role in their father’s campaign. On Monday night, team Trump announced they’d hired Jason Miller as communications adviser, who’d held a similar role for the Cruz campaign.

Back in April, campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks told the Wall Street Journal, “The campaign has no connection to any other Twitter accounts. The focus is Mr. Trump and that is his completely authentic account and anything else is the Internet, we don’t control it.” Asked if there’s been a shift since Lewandowski in the handling of Trump’s account, Hicks told Vocativ “Nothing has changed.”