Nine of the tweets came in the first half an hour after noon, when Trump was scheduled to be receiving his intelligence briefing.
The president and his allies like to have it both ways on his tweeting. He has repeatedly argued that he considers it a vital way to communicate with his base but, should the media pay attention to the volume or content of the tweets, it’s all waved away as immaterial or trolling. It’s a neat trick, suggesting tweets should be considered seriously only on terms that favor the president.
But it should not be considered a coincidence that Trump is tweeting so much in this moment, as the House Judiciary Committee is finalizing articles of impeachment against him. Since June 16, 2015, when he announced his candidacy, he has never tweeted as much as he had by 2 p.m. on Thursday, a volume of tweets exceeding even the period right before the election in 2016. And Thursday wasn’t an aberration; the previous record for the most tweets in a day came on Sunday.
Over the past seven days, he has averaged about 60 tweets a day, which is at least 10 tweets more than any prior seven-day period in the past four years.
Smaller surges have occurred in the past. In July 2015, the month after he entered the presidential race, Trump tweeted a lot, engaging with broad condemnation of the comments about Mexican immigrants he made at his campaign launch. From October through the early primaries, his pace of tweeting slowed a bit, spiking again in the last month of the campaign.
During the first year of his presidency, he tweeted fairly modestly, the rate increasing again as the midterm election approached. Then 2019 arrived.
By April, the month of the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump was tweeting at a midterm-election rate. By October, after the impeachment inquiry began, he had set a new monthly record.
The theme, in other words, is that Twitter is how Trump does battle. The volume of tweets correlates to his interest in engaging in a fight.
Bear in mind, the data above are monthly totals. If we look at those totals as a function of tweets per day, this month — 12 days so far — stands out. Most of his tweets this month have been retweets, a little click of a button that also makes it much easier to tweet quickly and in volume.
For a sense of scale here, Barack Obama tweeted 352 times from his official @POTUS account — ever. Granted, he got the account in May 2015, but Trump had tweeted more on Thursday by 2 p.m. than Obama had from May 2016 through January 2017.
Of course, Obama wasn’t facing impeachment.