As of the Fourth of July, 2017, President Trump will have been a Twitter user for nearly 12 percent of his life, joining in 2009 at the age of 62 and continuing on to this very day. For 1 out of every 9 days he’s been alive, Trump has been on Twitter.

The net effect of this is that we have a reasonably good record of the past eight years of Trump’s life, a period spanning most of President Barack Obama’s two terms and into Trump’s own. It’s a public record unlike that of any other president, it’s safe to say, and it’s one that can show us how Donald Trump the businessman evolved into Donald Trump, the aggressively confrontational politician.

Consider the Fourth of July. Our tool Trumphop retweets old Trump tweets on the same day and time as they were originally sent. We noticed, as the Fourth approached, that Trump’s tweets related to the holiday have had a noticeably different tone in recent years than in years past.

Below, Trump’s Fourth of July-related tweets from each year and a sample of the other issues he chose to highlight on the anniversary of our nation’s independence.




The first three years of Trump’s Independence Day tweets were straightforward. The 2009 iteration included a clumsy signature, but this was while Twitter was still young and people did such things.

By 2011, Trump was already engaged in politics, having considered and then skipped a run for the presidency. This was after he challenged Obama to present a birth certificate to prove that he was born in the United States — which Obama did shortly before roasting Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Yet that didn’t come through in Trump’s July 4 tweet.


It did the next year, when Trump decided to make a birth certificate joke.

This is the new era of Trump, recognizing and reveling in the feedback that his more outrageous Twitter behavior could provide.

As the holiday approached, Trump weighed in on the presidential election, having endorsed Republican Mitt Romney during the primary.

While not on the Fourth itself, this tweet is worth a mention: the politically motivated “I predicted it” tweet.


In 2013, Trump spent the Fourth celebrating a legal victory.

He also retweeted a vulgar response to the settlement.

He fought back with someone who was critical of him. (That original tweet included the same vulgarity as the one above.)

He also, for some reason, decided to focus on his attitudes about sharks.

He didn’t tweet anything about the holiday itself.


He did in 2014.


By 2015, he was officially a candidate for the presidency. In keeping with that, he tweeted a fairly anodyne celebration of the day, tacking on his campaign slogan.

He couldn’t resist, though, digging into the political moment.

Praise for his candidacy earned a retweet.

Macy’s, which ended its business relationship with Trump after he made negative comments about immigrants from Mexico at his campaign launch, earned Trump’s ire.

As did his critic Romney.


By this point last year, Trump had earned enough delegates to clinch the nomination at the Republican National Convention, a few weeks after the Fourth.

He celebrated the holiday with a professionally designed image and video.

He then quickly reverted to his campaign persona, disparaging rival Hillary Clinton and Obama as “fools” and the former as “guilty.”

He also spent part of the day rebutting the controversy of the moment. On July 2 — precisely one year before he stirred up controversy by plucking an animation from the Internet that showed him wrestling with CNN — Trump tweeted an image his team had found online picturing Clinton over a pile of dollar bills, with “Most Corrupt Candidate” printed over a six-pointed star. The image, quickly altered to replace the star with a circle, was widely criticized for being tacitly anti-Semitic.

So at 9:42 a.m. on Independence Day, candidate Trump defended his previous tweet by disparaging the media.

It’s a far cry from the simple message he offered in 2009. But, since then, Trump’s public persona is similarly a far cry from what it was then.