Over the course of his presidency, Trump has used Twitter to cajole and excoriate, to lambaste his opponents in politics and the media and to celebrate his celebration of various groups and organizations. It serves as a stream of consciousness for the president, meaning that we can watch thoughts form and memes calcify over the course of the year.
Like when Trump in June decided that the Republicans were “5 and O” in special elections (they weren’t) and then settles on having won 4-for-4 in House races (they didn’t) until that got re-upped to 5-0 (it wasn’t).
There are so many patterns embedded in the year’s modern-day presidential tweets that we discovered that we couldn’t capture all of them easily. So we made an interactive tool that allows you to do your own searches of Trump’s tweets and uncover new patterns in his thinking-in-public.
(These tweets are from the Trump Twitter Archive and include tweets that Trump deleted.)
Some interesting results:
- “fake news.” Trump’s favorite descriptor for critical media outlets cropped up repeatedly over the course of the year. No pattern beyond ubiquity. Also try: Fox, failing, Washington Post.
- “witch hunt.” After seizing on this descriptor for the investigation into Russian meddling shortly before being sworn into office, Trump repeated the phrase often during the summer as attention was focused on his campaign’s interactions with Russian actors. Also try: Russia, Putin.
- “Comey.” The firing of FBI Director James B. Comey in early May resulted in a flurry of tweets defending that action. Also try: Flynn, McCabe.
- “hurricane.” During late August and early September, many of Trump’s tweets focused on the unusual series of storms battering the Caribbean and Gulf Coast. Also try: Puerto Rico.
- “Hillary.” Another frequent subject of Trump’s tweets throughout the year. Also try: Clinton, Podesta, uranium.
- “Make America Great Again.” Self-explanatory. Also try: MAGA.
We began this article by asserting that Trump’s “modern-day presidential” tweet best encapsulated his approach to Twitter, but another tweet best encapsulates Trump.
After he inexplicably tweeted “Despite the negative press covfefe” one night in late May, he and his team tried to pass the obvious typo as intentional. The next morning, Trump offered this:
Who can figure out the true meaning of "covfefe" ??? Enjoy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
No one, to our knowledge, ever figured out the true meaning of covfefe. But Trump’s modern-day presidentiality is indeed partly predicated on never acknowledging that even obvious mistakes were anything but intentional misdirections.