NEW YORK CITY — US President Donald Trump likes to tweet — over 900 times since his January inauguration.
Trump’s tweets provide a unique insight into the mindset of a president. As he recently put it, “My use of social media is not Presidential – it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL.”
Business Insider analysed Trump’s tweets that have been posted since he took office, from January 20 to July 7 2017, and pulled out the major themes. The Trump Twitter Archive aims to create as complete a database as possible of all of the tweets posted on the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account. Since January 27, 2017, the database has maintained a real-time collection of them, meaning even tweets that were later deleted (such as the “covfefe”) are included in the database.
While these themes don’t provide a comprehensive list of all the President’s tweets, they give a good sense of some of the biggest topics in Trump’s timeline. For example, Trump’s favourite time of day to tweet is between 7:00 and 8:00 AM eastern, and his favourite topic is the media.
From the “FAKE NEWS”, to the ongoing investigations of Russian interference in the election, to the GOP’s attempts to overhaul the US healthcare system, here’s what’s been on the president’s mind in the last five and a half months.
President Trump has tweeted 920 times between his inauguration on January 20 and July 7, making for an average of about 5.4 tweets per day.
This chart shows a timeline of how often the president has tweeted on each day since the inauguration. Each dot represents one tweet.
The president has been tweeting somewhat more often since the end of May, after a two-week period in the middle of that month when he was uncharacteristically quiet online.
On each of the following charts, we will take a closer look at when the president tweets and some of his favourite topics and themes, as determined by Business Insider's reading of the tweets' text.
Trump has only avoided tweeting on two days: April 15 and June 8. He tweeted the most on June 22 -- 16 times, to be exact.
The president often starts his day on Twitter. 130 of Trump's tweets between Inauguration Day and July 7 were posted between 7 and 8 a.m. ET.
Although Trump tweets more frequently on weekdays than on weekends, several of his most inflammatory posts have come on Saturdays.
For example, an infamous set of tweets accusing former President Obama of 'tapping wires' in Trump Tower were posted early on a Saturday morning.
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
One of Trump's favourite foils, both on the campaign trail and since taking office, has been the media. The tone of the president's tweets on the press tend to have a negative edge, and often include the epithet 'FAKE NEWS,' as in this January 28 tweet aimed at the New York Times:
There have been 2 notable recent Twitter outbursts from POTUS against the media. One was on June 29, when he went after Mika Brzezinski.
Trump has also tweeted a whole lot about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, with 99 tweets on the topic.
Another recurring target of the president's ire on Twitter is the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the election and into any possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Despite the intelligence community's near-unanimous assertions that Russia did in fact attempt to influence the outcome of the election, Trump frequently asserts that the investigation is merely a distraction by embarassed Democrats trying to shift blame for losing. An early example is this February 15 tweet, published a day after a New York Times report suggesting that members of the president's campaign had repeated contacts with Russian agents:
This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign.
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
On May 8, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates testified at a Senate Judiciary hearing about contacts between Trump campaign aide and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
Trump, as we will see again later, was more concerned with information leaks than possible collusion with Russia:
Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017
The day he fired the FBI director was a fairly quiet day for the president's Twitter account, with only three tweets published. Trump did, in a theme that he would repeat over the following days, suggest that Democrats, who had previously criticised Comey for his handling of the Clinton email investigation, were hypocrites for speaking out against the director's firing:
More tweets on Russia and related matters came after Comey's June 8 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Trump's initial response the day after the former FBI director testified suggested that he felt 'vindicated' by the testimony, and again bringing attention to his concerns with leaks:
Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2017
Overlapping with the Russia investigation is the president's concern about leaks and surveillance. On February 15, the day after the New York Times report on Trump campaign aides having contact with Russian agents, the president tweeted:
The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by 'intelligence' like candy. Very un-American!
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
One of President Trump's more infamous tweets came on March 4, where he accused his predecessor of illegally spying on Trump Tower during the campaign.
The president also likes to tout his domestic agenda on Twitter. Since inauguration, he has posted 98 tweets on the economy, jobs, and his signature issue of trade.
Tweets about the economy include descriptions of meetings with top executives:
Trump also sometimes tweets out economic figures, such as the monthly ADP private-sector jobs report.
One of Trump's signature campaign issues was trade. He's criticised US trading partners, like Mexico,
Healthcare and the Republican push to repeal and replace Obamacare are another frequent topic, with 98 tweets.
One of the core promises of the Trump campaign and of the Republican Party more broadly over the last four election cycles was to repeal and replace Obamacare. There are three main clusters of Trump tweets that pertain to healthcare, going along with big congressional pushes.
The first came in mid-to-late March, during the House's first, ultimately failed, attempt to pass the American Healthcare Act. The second was in late April and early May, when the bill successfully passed the House, and the third has coincided with the recent push to pass a bill through the Senate.
Many of Trump's tweets on healthcare decry the current law:
ObamaCare is imploding. It is a disaster and 2017 will be the worst year yet, by far! Republicans will come together and save the day.
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2017
Others, especially during the failed March push to pass a bill in the House, criticised Republican holdouts.
During the current attempt to pass a bill in the Senate, Trump has tweeted frustration with Democrats, who remain uniformly opposed to Republican plans.
Another core issue in the 2016 election was immigration. President trump has tweeted 74 times on topics related to immigration, including his proposed border wall with Mexico and his ban on immigration from several majority-Muslim countries.
One of the ways Trump distinguished himself from other candidates in the Republican primary was taking an extremely hard line on immigration. In his speech announcing his candidacy, Trump said that Mexico was 'sending people that have lots of problems,' including criminals and rapists. A border wall between the US and Mexico was one of Trump's signature promises.
After a mass shooting in San Bernardino in December 2015, Trump called for 'a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US until our country's representatives can figure out what's going on.' A variant of such a ban, barring entry for people from originally seven and, in a later version, six majority-Muslim countries, was one of President Trump's first (and most contentious) actions.
Trump tweeted about immigration, and particularly the travel ban, frequently in the first weeks of his administration, especially after several federal judges overturned the original version of the ban. Trump was not happy with that decision:
The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
The president also sometimes tweets about the border wall with Mexico, and about how that country will pay for its construction and upkeep.
On the foreign policy side, President Trump often tweets about phone calls and visits from foreign leaders, and his two overseas trips so far have led to several tweets about foreign policy. Between his inauguration and July 7, Trump tweeted 83 times about his interactions with foreign leaders.
The tone of tweets about talking to foreign leaders tends to be fairly cordial:
Had a very good call last night with the President of China concerning the menace of North Korea.
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2017
Similarly, the president tends to take a positive tone when announcing meetings with world leaders at the White House or his Mar-a-Lago Florida golf club.
Of course, this is not a comprehensive description of all of the president's tweets. Further, several tweets fall into more than one category. For example, this tweet, referring to a retracted CNN story about an alleged meeting between Trump supporter Anthony Scaramucci and representatives of a Russian bank, is included in both the media and Russia investigation categories:
Wow, CNN had to retract big story on 'Russia,' with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017
In the early months of his presidency, as during the campaign, most of Trump's tweets came from an Android phone. By mid-March, nearly all tweets came from an iPhone.
Last August, data scientist David Robinson took a close look at the iPhone-Android tweet divide. He observed, through text analysis of the tweets, that the angrier, more inflammatory tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account tended to be posted from the Android Twitter app, while tweets from an iPhone were more neutral or positive.
A common interpretation of the differences in voice from the different devices was that Trump himself was tweeting from his own personal Android device, while campaign staff were posting from one or more iPhones.
That divide held true for the first two months of Trump's presidency. Trump's more aggressive tweets came from an Android device:
Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
Of course, many of the tweets from an Android device were also straightforward statements and announcements:
Congratulations to Rex Tillerson on being sworn in as our new Secretary of State. He will be a star!
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
A handful of President Trump's tweets have come from other platforms, like the Twitter Web Client, Twitter Ads, and Media Studio.
These tend to be fairly neutral statements touting recent accomplishments or speeches, and generally include a video clip of an event or speech. For example, here's the president announcing a plan to reform the air traffic control system posted from Twitter Ads:
Today, I announced an Air Traffic Control Initiative to take American air travel into the future - finally!
As the chart above shows, the Android device mostly vanishes in mid-March, with the final two tweets coming on March 25. The Atlantic, among others, speculated that Trump's personal Android device was too old to be properly secured, and that it was replaced around this time with an iPhone. Whatever happened, the tweets keep coming.
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