Put another way, Trump’s past often emerges in conflict with the present. At times, that conflict is more striking than at others. On Sunday night, as The Washington Post was reporting that the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency was overhauling a key science advisory panel in keeping with the agency’s shifts away from a focus on climate change, one might have been reminded of this tweet, sent by Trump in his pre-political days:
Astute observers will note something interesting about that tweet: It, like the EPA story, came out on the evening of May 7.
What else was concerning Donald Trump on May Sevenths past?
In 2012, he was conducting interviews with reality television co-stars.
In 2014, he was retweeting requests that he run for office.
In 2015, a month before he announced his candidacy, he was tweeting about a boxing match he attended.
Oh, also in 2014? He was fretting about computer security.
To surface these tweets that open a window into Trump’s doings in years past, we created @trumphop, a Twitter account that does only that: It retweets Trump’s old tweets on the same date and at the same time. (The name is a riff on Timehop, a service that reminds you of what you were doing on social media in years past.)
There is often resonance that emerges. Remember in April when Trump declared that he wouldn’t label China a currency manipulator, since the nation was working with the United States on North Korea? Here he was on April 25, 2015.
The tweets are often banal, often self-congratulatory and often arrive at the unusual hours we’ve come to expect. Often, as with so much on the Internet, the links and users have vanished. Since old tweets look as new as the day they were sent (unlike, say, newsprint), old tweets will pop up in your feed and prompt you to wonder, if only for a second, why the president is suddenly complaining about Miss Pennsylvania.
The overall effect is to remind us that the Donald Trump we got to know over the past 24 months is the same Donald Trump that he ever was. That is: not a politician.