For all of the work John Kelly has put into his new role as White House chief of staff, instituting new limits on whom President Trump speaks with and what information he sees, Trump has an escape hatch: his phone. Put limits on who can reach Trump at the White House? Fine, but then Trump just calls them from his cell later that night. Limit the data that lands on his desk? Great, until he fires up Twitter and sees whatever he wants to see. (Twitter, Axios reported in May, is the only app on his phone.)
Much of what Trump learns about the world is filtered through two lenses: what he watches on cable news (particularly Fox) and what he sees on Twitter. Wired’s Ashley Feinberg linked the arguments from Trump’s Tuesday news conference about the violence in Charlottesville last weekend to rhetoric that he may have picked up from Twitter or from watching Fox. The liberal site Media Matters put a fine point on that latter connection, pairing Trump’s language with similar statements that had previously aired on Fox.
Users of Twitter will understand, however, that it can be tricky to know what someone else sees when he or she fires up the application. Everyone follows a different group of people, and that colors the information they receive.
To that end, we’ve created @trumps_feed, an account that checks whom Trump follows every five minutes and then retweets any new tweets from them over that period. The net result is a replication of what Trump would see on those occasions that he switches over from the Mentions tab.
It’s this. This is what Trump would see right now if he opened Twitter.
Again, this account will update every five minutes with any new accounts that Trump follows.
Whom does he follow right now? Twitter allows us to see all 45 of those accounts right now, and, interestingly, the order in which he followed them.
That order, from earliest to most recent follow, goes like this:
Donald Trump Jr.
Greta Van Susteren
Seven Trump properties
The personal account of Dan Scavino, his social media director
Vince McMahon, head of the WWE
Golfer Gary Player
Producer Mark Burnett
Fox News’s Eric Bolling
Rivera’s wife (whom he followed after he followed Geraldo)
The account for “Fox and Friends”
His attorney Michael Cohen
Former spokeswoman Katrina Pierson
TV personality Katrina Campins
The duo of Diamond and Silk
Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski
Fox Nation, a Fox News social account
Lara Trump, Eric Trump’s wife
Vanessa Trump, Trump Jr.’s wife
A campaign account called Team Trump
Vice President Pence
His other daughter, Tiffany. (He followed his own daughter after Pence — whom he obviously started following only last summer.)
Two more Trump Organization accounts
Actress Roma Downey
Dan Scavino’s White House account
The White House
Fox News’s Jesse Watters
Fox News’s Tucker Carlson
Of the 45 accounts he follows, nine are for the Trump Organization and seven are linked to his other favorite business, Fox News.
And what do they tweet about? We took all of the tweets from those accounts this month (except the Trump Organization ones) and created a word cloud.
They tweet about Trump.
The Trump name is mentioned 389 times in August tweets from these users. His Twitter handle is mentioned 230 times. Fox News’s Twitter handle is mentioned 184 times. The word “president” comes up 164 times and the news of the month, Charlottesville, 120 times.
Anyway. If you’re ever curious what’s spurring Trump’s views on something out there in the world, take a dip into @trumps_feed and see. If it’s not being discussed there and it’s not on Fox News, maybe it’s something that his senior staff decided he should focus on.
But we’d recommend starting with Twitter or Fox News.