Over the next seven hours or so, Trump took aim at everything and anyone he could, unleashing a barrage of more than two dozen tweets and retweets that targeted media outlets, high-profile commentators and hosts, and Democrats.
He also returned once more to the Russia probe and impeachment, promoting a tweet that accused his political adversaries of “three failed coup attempts.” The tweet went on to suggest with no evidence that the president’s opponents could “attempt to steal the election” by making the novel coronavirus’s impact on human lives seem worse than it really is.
At one point, the president said reporters who covered him should return their “Noble Prizes,” appearing to confuse the Nobel Prizes with the Pulitzer Prizes for journalism. Rather than correct himself, Trump deleted the “Noble” tweets, but then said he meant to use the word “Noble,” as a form of “sarcasm.” Trump went on to retweet commentary ridiculing his Democratic challenger Joe Biden for his syntax.
The notable uptick in Twitter activity came on the second consecutive day that Trump had not participated in a daily White House coronavirus briefing, events meant to inform the public that have instead been largely taken over by the president and transformed into “de facto political rallies,” as The Washington Post’s Philip Bump and Ashley Parker reported.
Trump’s decision to skip briefings this weekend comes after he weathered intense backlash for asking last Thursday if highly toxic disinfectants could be injected into the human body to fight coronavirus. He was also widely rebuked for floating unproven treatments such as light therapy at the same briefing.
In a statement emailed to The Post on Monday, White House spokesman Judd Deere said Trump’s “use of technology to communicate directly with the American people should be praised, not criticized.”
“Instead of obsessing over how many times the President has tweeted, the media could cover his unprecedented actions to protect the health and safety of the Nation and his bold leadership that has placed us on a responsible, data-driven path to opening up America again,” Deere said.
Sunday’s one-man Twitter spectacle kicked off with Trump boasting that he is “a hard worker and have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history,” adding, “The Fake News hates it!”
Minutes later, he provided a glimpse into what he said was his daily routine.
“I work from early in the morning until late at night,” Trump tweeted, “haven’t left the White House in many months (except to launch Hospital Ship Comfort) in order to take care of Trade Deals, Military Rebuilding etc.”
Trump noted that his attempt to clear up any misconception about his work ethic was sparked by “a phony story” he recently read in the Times. The president was probably referring to a Thursday article by Times reporters Katie Rogers and Annie Karni that bears the headline, “Home Alone at the White House: A Sour President, With TV His Constant Companion.”
But even with such a busy schedule and Sunday being his wife’s 50th birthday, Trump managed to find time to keep tweeting.
Once he was finished slamming the Times, Trump pivoted to a broader attack against journalists. Only this time, he wasn’t focused on their coverage of the country’s pandemic response.
“When will all of the ‘reporters’ who have received Noble Prizes for their work on Russia, Russia, Russia, only to have been proven totally wrong (and, in fact, it was the other side who committed the crimes), be turning back their cherished ‘Nobles’ so that they can be given to the REAL REPORTERS & JOURNALISTS who got it right,” Trump tweeted, referencing allegations that his 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia, one of his greatest sources of irritation.
Trump concluded his tirade, which spanned three separate tweets, threatening, “Lawsuits should be brought against all, including the Fake News Organizations, to rectify this terrible injustice.” In another thread, Trump also took swipes at Fox News, a network that is home to some of his most vocal supporters.
It didn’t take long for “Noble Prize,” “Nobel” and “Pulitzer Prize” to start trending on Twitter as Trump’s detractors rushed to mock the president over what appeared to be both a spelling error and a misunderstanding of what awards are given to journalists. After deleting the tweets, Trump argued that “Noble Prize” was supposed to be “sarcasm,” falling back on the same defense he used to explain his controversial comments about injecting disinfectants into coronavirus patients.
“Does anybody get the meaning of what a so-called Noble (not Nobel) Prize is, especially as it pertains to Reporters and Journalists?” Trump tweeted. “Noble is defined as, ‘having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.’ Does sarcasm ever work?”
Critics, however, didn’t buy Trump’s explanation.
Still, Trump continued his tweetstorm undeterred. For about an hour and a half Sunday night, Trump went on a retweeting spree, sharing a slew tweets that largely consisted of conservatives disparaging Democrats and more broadsides against the media, including The Post. Trump took a quick break from politics to promote a video of a young girl singing a duet of “You Raise Me Up,” writing, “Great!”
Among Democratic leaders, Trump seemed particularly interested in targeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Biden. In addition to retweeting criticisms of Pelosi’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, Trump highlighted unflattering videos of Biden. One clip showed the Democratic presidential candidate stumbling over his words on CNN, while another featured a doctored GIF of Biden making silly faces.
Then, Trump rounded out the evening by quoting himself:
“So true!” Trump wrote, retweeting his own post from Saturday that said, “Remember, the Cure can’t be worse than the problem itself. Be careful, be safe, use common sense!”