When Donald Trump took office on January 20th, 2017, he was already known for his tweeting — Slate even called him the best. Known for his strong interjections and his 140-character feuds with everyone from Rosie O’Donnell to Mac Miller, the now-president always makes the most of his quickly typed messages and his 32.7 million followers, a following which, as the New York Times pointed out, is 1.7 times larger than that of the official @POTUS twitter.
In April, both the Washington Post and the New York Times dove into the President’s tweets over his first 100 days, cataloging and categorizing each, tracking his retweets, emojis, and busiest times, and discussing his repeated yells of “FAKE NEWS!” But I wanted to dive a little deeper into the @realDonaldTrump’s tweets, chirps, and occasional misfires over his first 100 days in office.
This essay visualizes all 501 Trump tweets between January 20th and April 29th to find out what he was saying, how he was saying it, and when he was talking about it. We'll also look at the source of his messages and the tw-entiment (ha, get it?). It works best on Chrome on your desktop, but I won't fault you for scrolling through it on your mobile. We're going to look at this from plenty of different angles, and as such, this essay isn't meant as a full exploration of each, but rather a short and sweet investigation to serve as a jumping off point for a couple of future projects. Full credits are at the end of the article, but I make use of data from the Trump Twitter Archive.
In the 100 days following his inauguration, @realDonaldTrump tweeted exactly 50 times about the media, 46 times about foreign affairs, 41 times about jobs, and 35 times regarding fake news.
He also posted about his immigration ban and Making America Great Again (33 times each), healthcare and unofficial business (28 times each), the democratic party (27), foreign leaders (24), Russia (20), the 2016 election (12), his own republican party (11), and of course, official “Presidential” business (139). More on this later.
These topics are based on a combination of my research and the themes distilled by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and the Slate.
The President liked to mention his own name. In fact, in a tie with media, he mentioned Trump 27 times. Together, they account for just about 1% all the words he posted on Twitter (including emoji and hashtags). He also likes the words People (26), President (25), me (24), Whitehouse (23), Great (23), FAKE (22), America (21), and Election (21) (let it go!).
You know the saying, “never tweet angry?” Well, neither do I, but it's still a good idea. And it's a truth that is perhaps most important for the leader of the free world. Donald Trump’s angriest (read most negative) tweets were presumably seen by well over the 32.7 million people who follow him — and there were a few of these tweets. For this “twentiment” analysis I ran each tweet through a natural language processor in Python to determine it's score on the polarity scale, with -1 being the most negative and +1 being the most positive. The tweets in the background are coloured according to this scale, with the angriest being darker and the happiest lighter.
In general, and unsurprisingly, the more strongly a tweet aligned to one end of the spectrum or the other, the more subjective — or, the more influenced by his personal feelings — his message was.
The most negative tweet was just two weeks into his tenure as president. This tweet about Iran and some sort of terrible deal clocked in at -1.
Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile.Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
Equally as negative, this tweet came in a day later — the same day a federal judge in Boston declined to renew the temporary restraining order.
We must keep "evil" out of our country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
A good chunk of his most neutral tweets was written similarly to this one, almost as though it wasn't actually written by him. In fact, most of these were sent as ads or from an iPhone, whereas his most negative and most positive tweets were sent from an Android device. But more on that in a bit.
While not his most positive tweet, this tweet score pretty high in both polarity and subjectivity, somewhat of a surprise coming from an iPhone. This healthcare tweet came after some bad press.
Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2017
To borrow a line from Polly Higgins of AM New York, Donald Trump may not be a “polished politician,” but he is a longtime English speaker. This fact, however, is far from obvious when we look at his Twitter account. The background now is showing all 9000 words he's tweeted since January 20th, coloured by their part of speech (or POS). While it's been pointed out many times that his grammar and spelling are less than impeccable, he seems to have cleaned it up a bit since becoming President, and unfortunately, we're only looking at his tweets in a very specific timespan, so those will have to wait.
adjectives adverbs interjections nouns pronouns proper nouns verbs WH-words links and others
This chart shows the distribution of Trump's tweets over his first 100 days, coloured by the main topic. Below his tweets are significant events that happened during his first 100 days, from his inauguration to his immigration ban to his order to investigate steel imports. Go ahead and click on a tweet to take a look, filter by category, or hover over an event to see more.
His first tweet, coming mere hours before his inaugural address, was on his first day in office. It was followed by 500 more, coming in fairly consistently over his first 100 days. He tweeted just about once per day from January 20th through Aril 29th
The last tweet of his first 100 days was posted on 9 pm on his final day, in reply to a comment made by Fox Business Network anchor Lou Dobbs. In the time between his first and last tweet, he only missed one day of tweeting. From 5:46 pm on April 14 th until 9:41 am two days later — exactly one day, 15 hours, and 55 minutes,— @realDonaldTrump was Twitter silent, a rare occurrence for the high-profile celebrity.
The first 10% of his tweets were sent in the first week of his presidency. That's 50 tweets in 7 days.
A quarter of them was posted by the 20-day mark. That's 125 in less than three weeks, a rate of 6.25 tweets per day.
By the 75-day mark, he had slowed down to about five tweets per day, or 375 total.
Comparing the timing of some major events with the timing of some popular tweets, we can make a connection between the two. It seems that Trump often takes to Twitter to back himself up, defend himself, vent his frustrations, or maybe just to get some attention.
The day after Donald Trump was sworn in as President, millions of people took to the streets all over the world — some 500,000 in D.C. alone — as part of the International Women's March. The Donald promptly took to Twitter, scorning the protesters and asking why the didn't vote, only to follow it up with a much calmer tweet, this time expressing his appreciation for their right to march.
A week later, a raid was launched against Al-Qaeda in Yemen, a risky and costly mission that led to the death of one American and a number of civilian casualties. The event was discussed at length by the media, and seemingly in response, Trump sent out a tweet saying we cannot allow the horrors in the Middle East to continue.
Only three days later, it was reported that Trump had a heated phone conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about the refugee resettlement deal. Immediately following the conversation, he sent out the following: “Call it what you want, it is about keeping bad people (with bad intentions) out of country!”
Later that week, we saw a series of messages, posted following the temporary block of Trump’s immigration ban by a judge in the district court of Western Washington. Trump went on to question the “so-called” judge’s qualifications and call it a “terrible decision.”
Skipping ahead to the final week of his first 100 days, Trump sends out beautifully-composed and wonderfully-timed tweet discussing/defending his first-100-days accomplishments.
It turns out Donald Trump’s a pretty early riser (as perhaps Presidents should be). He regularly tweets around the 6 am mark, and occasionally tweets late into the night. Interestingly, there are a few trends when it comes to two things: one, what he's tweeting about, and two, what device he’s using. Take a look...
As noted above, he tweeted about the 2016 election twelve times in his first 100 days, and eleven of those tweets came in the AM. 5 of those came from an Android device, which many believe is his personal mobile.
Whether it was to defend it, promote it, or complain about judges being unfair, when it comes to his immigration ban, Trump took to Twitter a lot. 33 times in his first 100 days to be exact. And only five of the 33 came after February 21 st.
As was the case with the 2016 election, Trump generally tweeted about what he dubbed #FakeNews in the mornings. And up until March 15th, generally on his personal Android device.
@realDonaldTrump’s account tweets from two different devices. One is an iPhone and one an Android, and as many have pointed out before me, it's often obvious which one is the real Donald. David Robinson did a comprehensive language analysis, confirming that Trump's angrier tweets, AKA his Android tweets, are coming from the real him.
Highlighted now are the 167 tweets sent from his Android device, all but one of which were posted before March 8th. Click through the filters above the graph to see some trends in particular topics when it comes to what device he's tweeting from, and we'll see, it's almost as though someone took his Android away.
Created with ♥ by Sam Vickars. This project is (obviously) not endorsed by Donald Trump or his administration and is not affiliated with Twitter. Tweet data was provided by the Trump Twitter Archive by Brendan Brown. Inspiration was drawn from posts by Philip Bump of the Washinton Post, Danielle Rindler, also of the Washington Post, and Alicia Parlapiano and Larry Buchanan of the New York Times. Categories and topics are based on my research and those themes distilled by the above articles, while dates and descriptions of major events were sourced from Nick O’Malley’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald.