The First 450 Tweets: A Trump Presidency Review
Cries of "fake news," repealing Obamacare, and The Wall. Drain the swamp? Not so much
Donald Trump loves Twitter. He practically ran his 17-month campaign on the social network, maligning opponents, announcing rallies, and eschewing formal press releases for early-morning rants. And while some wondered if winning the presidency would slow his penchant for tweeting, his love is unabated.
In the new president’s first 100 days in office, he’s used the social media platform to threaten legal action against federal court decisions, accuse a former president of wire-tapping (without evidence), complain about all manner of enemies, and saber-rattle so intensely that even North Korea officially asked him to take it down a notch.
In tone, the president’s tweets remain blunt, controversial, prone to bits of SHOUTING, especially in the wee hours of the night. And yet, there are some ways in which they’ve changed. Between his formal @POTUS account and the more unpredictable @realDonaldTrump, here’s what the first 444 tweets of the Trump era tell us.
The list of Trump’s most mentioned accounts unsurprisingly begin with @WhiteHouse, considering he tags it when he hosts visitors at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But in second comes one of Trump’s most hated enemies — the New York Times, a publication which he has continually attacked since he began campaigning in June 2015. While his relationship with the paper remains adversarial, he hasn’t been able to quit the paper of record — Times’ reporter Maggie Haberman has evolved into his go-to reporter.
The Trump campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” or #MAGA comes in as most tweeted hashtag through the first 100 days as president. Tied for third is his now infamous call to #RepealAndReplace Obamacare, which went down as a major defeat for the Trump administration in late March.
#DrainTheSwamp, a famous Trump rallying call to rid of Washington corruption, is curiously missing from the list. As a matter of fact, the president has only tweeted the hashtag or phrase twice since he won the election nearly six months ago, and hasn’t mentioned it at all since taking office. Perhaps this is because as much as Candidate Trump loved to call out opponents on their ties to Wall Street. President Trump has filled his administration of them.
Donald Trump has launched crusades against many things during his relatively short time as a politician, but his most persistent one is undoubtedly against the press, which he has repeatedly slammed for nearly two years straight now. (You may recall he literally called the media the “enemy of the American People” less than a month after taking office.) One out of every 14 tweets since Trump became president has been a refutation of a news report or has called out specific media outlets as “fake news,” namely, of course, the “failing” New York Times. He bashed the media for “pushing the phony Russia story,” even after FBI Director James Comey declared an ongoing investigation into Russian election tampering.
While Trump wages his war with the media, the real fake news epidemic — the one with actual misinformation — has spread to Europe ahead of the elections in France and Germany. He has yet to comment on those ongoing sabotage attempts.
“The Wall” appears toward the bottom of the list, with only eight mentions since Trump moved into the White House — and understandably so, given the uncertainty of its construction and financing.
Despite winning the election and entering office as the most powerful person in the world, Trump can’t seem to stop talking about his former opponents. Of all the people he’s mentioned on Twitter since Inauguration Day, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama top the list with eight targeted tweets apiece. In fact, he’s tweeted about his two political adversaries more than his own vice president, Mike Pence.
Trump shared this rhetorical question nearly five months after beating her: “Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate? Just asking!”
Of the nearly 450 tweets we analyzed, Trump’s most retweeted tweet of his presidency came only one day after he took office. It wasn’t about China, The Wall, or “fake news.” It was a non-partisan declaration of the right to protest on the day 470,000 women showed up on his doorstep in Washington.
The second most-popular had nothing to do with politics at all. It came after the New England Patriots rallied back to win Super Bowl LI. Trump left his own watch party when the Pats fell into a 25-point hole, but was quick to congratulate his buddy and owner Bob Kraft on the biggest Super Bowl comeback of all time.
But as Trump’s presidency endures on his citizenry, the amplification of his tweets has slowly shrunk. Post-inauguration slide? Politics fatigue? Or maybe we’re finally just reaching the end of our national capacity to be shocked by factually dubious sunrise rants — no matter how powerful the man who writes them.