Trump tweets daily. The content he shares includes a mixture of original tweets, article/media links & retweeted content (from other accounts). He often goes on tweeting binges & meltdowns posting large numbers of tweets & retweets in a short period of time.
My analysis of Trump's tweeting behavior is based on my own daily interactions with his account over the past 2 months. For each of the categories of tweets identified & listed in this thread I provide an example to demonstrate what I am referring to.
A huge % of Trump’s tweets are devoted to insulting & trying to discredit anyone whom he regards as a “critic” of him. Given the extent to which these tweets dominate Trump's feed, I will address each category (e.g. politicians, reporters) separately.
Trump is relentless in his attacks on individual Democratic politicians & Democrats as a group (“Radical Left Democrats”). His list of targets is long: Obama, Hillary, Biden, Pelosi, Schiff, AOC, Democratic Governors & Mayors.
Trump’s disdain for truth & facts underpins his labeling of the media as the “enemy of the people.” His slamming of media outlets is endless. Regular targets of his ire include: CNN, MSNBC, NY Times & the Washington Post.
Some of Trump’s most vicious personal attacks have been on individual journalists, reporters & TV presenters. The list of those whom Trump insults on a fairly regular basis includes: Don Lemon, Nicolle Wallace & Joe Scarborough.
Republicans are not off limits in regards to Trump’s abuse. Trump is openly hostile & scathing towards Republicans who have expressed *any* type of opposition to him. Recent examples include Lisa Murkowski & Mitt Romney.
Trump is notorious for saying he only hires “the best” people & then claiming the same people are “the worst” when things turn sour. Anyone who leaves Trump’s admin, regardless of how they left, can become a target.
Officials who have long since left the main stage of public life can become the object of Trump's scorn. Anyone who criticizes Trump or doesn’t express allegiance to him is attacked. Colin Powell is a recent example.
Trump uses his Twitter account to demonize specific businesses & organizations that he feels slighted by. The public demonization aims to cause harm or to pressure the entities in question to accommodate Trump's demands.
Many celebrities in the entertainment & sporting industries express their opposition to Trump’s presidency. Trump responds in kind tweeting insults & talking trash. 10 of Trump’s celebrity feuds from 2019 are outlined below.
Trump’s frequent criticism of those who have responded peacefully following the murder of George Floyd has demonstrated his willingness to publicly go after & shame law-abiding US citizens who don’t support his presidency.
Trump’s venom isn’t limited to people in public life. Anyone whose individual story makes it into social media can become a target of a Trump attack. A classic example in this category is the story of Martin Gugino.
While most of Trump’s tweets about other individuals involve him attacking them, occasionally he tweets in defense of those who have been loyal to him & whom have been targeted (for good reason) by law enforcement or the media.
Trump is extremely divisive & this is reflected in his tweets. His habit of slapping cities & states with political labels (e.g. Sanctuary Cities, Democrat-Run) is toxic, fueling an “us” & “them” culture across the USA.
Trump’s punishment of perceived critics often incorporates insinuations & baseless allegations. Trump frequently accuses others of alleged criminal conduct &/or implies it. Recent targets include Obama & Joe Scarborough.
Trump’s tweeting includes the creation of fake scandals & the fueling of conspiracy theories. The intent is to create a distraction from real issues & to damage opponents. Recent examples include: “Obamagate” “Voter Fraud” & “ANTIFA”
News articles or reports which are critical of Trump are frequently attacked by him & branded as “fake news.” The intention is to draw into question the validity of the articles/reports & to undermine their value/worth.
Trump is quick to label *real* news items as “fake news” but in many instances it is Trump himself who is *creating* FAKE NEWS. When he objects to media reporting or analyses, he creates his own version of the story!
Trump often makes outrageous claims without providing any accompany “evidence” whatsoever. On other occasions he tries to present support for his claims by sharing dubious articles & videos from right-wing media sources.
One product of Trump's severe narcissism is extreme victim-hood. He frequently complains about media outlets critiquing his conduct, as though no other politician has *ever* faced such criticism. The whining is endless.
When there is something that Trump feels personally insulted by he will post an ego-driven “defense” or rationalization. The explanations are often counter-productive drawing even more attention to the incident in question.
Trump’s bragging is extreme & is a product of his pathological narcissism. He regularly makes verifiably false claims about his place in history as a president & about what he has achieved during his time in office.
Trump misrepresents his overall “popularity." He avoids talking about national polls & invariably focuses on his approval rating within the GOP. He often quotes the same figure (96%) & never provides data sources.
Those who "proudly" & openly support Trump (& feed his narcissism) are often featured in Trump’s tweets & retweets! This includes generic groups (eg “Boaters for Trump” & MAGA supporters) & specific individuals (both famous & not).
Trump uses Twitter to send messages to people he wishes to influence or pressure. Most often these are Republicans in Congress. Sometimes the “call to action” is very direct & other times it is vague/indirect (but clear nonetheless).
Trump often goes on “endorsement binges” in which he tweets support for GOP candidates who are up for re-election. He only endorses those candidates who express 100% loyalty to him. Those who don’t are either scorned or ignored.
Falling into this category are tweets relating to activities undertaken by the federal government or Trump’s administration. These tend to be less dramatic in nature but often imply that Trump alone made it all happen!
Trump tweets about the signing of Exec Orders. More reckless is his use of Twitter to blurt out policy changes. A recent example was his chaotic announcement of plans to impose restrictions on immigration during COVID19.
Trump’s tweets about official presidential events or campaign activities provide brief moments of relief from his other more toxic forms of tweeting. These tweets are typically less dramatic & are often shared with photos or videos.
Trump promotes the commercial activities of those who fawn over him & are aligned with his agenda. These are people Trump thinks are useful to him. He promotes their books & TV shows & encourages his followers to provide support.
These are usually some of the few times when Trump’s tweets don’t descend into pure toxicity. But his acknowledgement of commemorative moments is usually “awkward” at best as the sentiments expressed often seem insincere.
That which is absent from Trump’s twitter tells a story in & of itself. Things you will almost never see:
- acknowledgement of real problems
- pleas for bipartisanship & unity
- messages of hope & inspiration
- recognition of diversity
Paying attention & responding to Trump’s tweets is an exhausting & maddening activity. But challenging Trump’s constant lying & his abuse of other people is a fundamentally important activity because, ultimately, silence is akin to complicity. My work continues!