Donald Trump on social media

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Donald Trump, during his presidency, frequently used Twitter and other social media platforms. From his official declaration of candidacy in June 2015 through the four years of his presidency, he tweeted over 34,000 times. His tweets were considered to be official statements made by the President of the United States.[2]

On June 12, 2017, House Bill HR 2884, aka COVFEFE Act, was introduced in the United States House of Representatives during the 115th United States Congress. HR 2884 was intended to amend the Presidential Records Act to preserve Twitter posts and other social media interactions of the President of the United States and require the National Archives to store such items. It was assigned to the House Oversight and Reform Committee for consideration. While in committee, there were no roll call votes related to the bill. The bill died in committee.[3]

In the name of "public interest,"[4] Trump's Twitter account remained unmoderated for most of his presidency.[5] Trump often posted controversial and false statements on his Twitter account @realDonaldTrump.[6][7][8][9] An investigation by The New York Times published November 2, 2019, found that, during his time in office, Trump "retweeted 217 accounts that have not been verified by Twitter," at least 145 of which "have pushed conspiracy or fringe content, including more than two dozen that have since been suspended by Twitter."[10] On July 16, 2019, the House of Representatives voted to censure him for "racist comments" he had tweeted two days previously. Four Republicans supported the measure, while 187 voted against it.[11] His advisors warned him that his tweets may alienate some of his supporters.[12] In a June 2017 Fox News poll, 70 percent of respondents said Trump's tweets hurt his agenda.[13][14] In a January 2019 UMass Lowell poll, 68 percent of all respondents aged 18–37 said Trump tweeted too much.[15]

In 2020, Twitter began hiding or adding fact-check labels to any of Trump's tweets that spread misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, or falsely suggested that postal voting or electoral fraud may compromise the presidential election.[16][17] Trump then took to Twitter to undermine the election results, and Twitter began labelling those posts as disputed or misleading.[18]

On January 8, 2021, Trump was banned across several social media platforms after he allegedly incited the storming of the United States Capitol while Joe Biden's electoral votes were being certified.[19] Twitter interpreted Trump's posts could pose further risk of violence[20] and permanently suspended his @realDonaldTrump handle, followed by the official account of his campaign (@TeamTrump) shortly thereafter.[21][22] Allies of Trump who posted on his behalf, including Trump campaign digital director Gary Coby, also had their accounts suspended.[23] Twitter also increased its moderation of the @POTUS handle, quickly deleting three tweets that Trump had posted on the account to circumvent his ban.[24]

Additionally, Facebook blocked and later banned Trump from all of its platforms indefinitely (including Instagram), at least until his presidential term ends.[25]

Background

The emergence of social media has changed the way in which political communication takes place in the United States. Political institutions such as politicians, political parties, foundations, institutions, and political think tanks are all using social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, to communicate with and engage voters. Regular individuals, politicians, "pundits" and thought leaders alike are able to voice their opinions, engage with a wide network, and connect with other likeminded individuals.[26] According to Wael Ghonim, social media can reinforce pre-existing beliefs rather than promote new ones. Social media, while a great source of gathering volunteers and money, serves the main purpose of affirming political beliefs and strengthening a political base.[27] Politicians have a platform to communicate with that is different from the mainstream media. Politicians have the ability to raise large amounts of money in relatively short periods of time through social media campaigns. In 2012, President Barack Obama raised over a billion dollars for his campaign, which broke the fundraising record. Around $690 million was raised through online donations including social media, email, and website donations, and more money was raised from small donors than ever before.[28]

The 2008 US presidential election was the first election in which candidates utilized the Internet and social media networking as a communicative tool incorporated into candidates' campaigns.[29] In 2008, President-elect Barack Obama was the first to use the Internet to organize supporters, advertise, and communicate with individuals in a way that had been impossible in previous elections.[30] Obama utilized sites like YouTube to advertise through videos. The videos posted on YouTube by Obama's were viewed for 14.5 million hours.[30][31] As of 2012, more candidates were utilizing a wider array of social media platforms.[32] Politicians were now on social networking sites like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other new social media tools and mobile apps. Some of the candidates used social media sites to announce their candidacy. Barack Obama emailed a video to 13 million when he announced his intention to run for re-election, and Mitt Romney sent out a tweet.[32] By May 16, 2011, @BarackObama was followed by 7.4 million people, including twenty-eight world leaders.[33] His account became the third account to reach 10 million followers in September 2011.[34][35][36]

Twitter

Donald Trump's tweet activity from his first tweet in May 2009. His tweet activity pattern has changed from 2013.

From his official declaration of candidacy in 2015, Donald Trump benefited from large numbers of supporters active on social media. Some supporters called themselves "Centipedes" online.[37]

By late 2019, President Trump had created a new style of communications to the public that largely bypassed the White House Press Secretary and relied on his own direct speaking and tweets. According to a report in Politico:

He prefers to issue major announcements himself over social media, whether policy moves or staff firings. He killed the daily White House briefing, preferring the messy practice of fielding reporters’ shouted questions from the Oval Office or before his presidential helicopter. As Year Three of his presidency closes out, Trump has built his style of communicating around the pillars of political grievances, conspiracy theories and targeting perceived enemies. Most of all, he prefers to dictate and dominate the news cycle. [38]

Trump used the retweet feature on Twitter to forward messages he agreed with, no matter how obscure their authors were. Praising Trump was "important" to secure a retweet from him, wrote The Washington Post.[39] At times, Trump retweeted himself,[40] and sometimes he commented "so true" while retweeting himself.[41]

The @realdonaldtrump handle had amassed 88.7 million followers by the time Twitter suspended it in early 2021.[42]

Rate of tweets

After winning the election, Trump said in a November 12, 2016, 60 Minutes interview that, as president, his use of social media would be "very restrained, if I use it at all."[43] He did reduce his number of tweets during his early time in office, but he gradually increased his use of Twitter. By the first half of 2019, he was tweeting as frequently as he had done during his candidacy, and he doubled this rate during the second half of 2019 and the first half of 2020. His most prolific day was June 5, 2020, when he tweeted 200 times.[44]

Tweets counted through Trump Twitter Archive.[45]

Date range Tweets Daily average
2009 (May 4 – December 31, 2009) 56 0.2
2010 (January 1 – December 31, 2010) 142 0.4
2011 (January 1 – December 31, 2011) 774 2.1
2012 (January 1 – December 31, 2012) 3,531 9.6
2013 (January 1 – December 31, 2013) 8,138 22.3
2014 (January 1 – December 31, 2014) 5,773 15.8
2015, pre-candidacy (January 1 – June 15, 2015) 3,701 22.3
Candidacy (June 16, 2015 – November 8, 2016) 7,794 15.2
Transition (November 9, 2016 – January 19, 2017) 364 5.1
Presidency, Year 1, first half (January 20 – July 19, 2017) 1,027 5.7
Presidency, Year 1, second half (July 20, 2017 – January 19, 2018) 1,576 8.6
Presidency, Year 2, first half (January 20, 2018 – July 19, 2018) 1,472 8.1
Presidency, Year 2, second half (July 20, 2018 – January 19, 2019) 2,146 11.7
Presidency, Year 3, first half (January 20 – July 19, 2019) 2,814 15.6
Presidency, Year 3, second half (July 20 – January 19, 2020) 5,151 28.1
Presidency, Year 4, first half (January 20 – July 19, 2020) 6,014 33.2
Presidency, Year 4, second half (July 20 – January 8, 2021)

Trump's account was permanently banned on January 8.

"Daily average" is based on the 172 days he had an account.

5,993 34.8

In addition to the tweets he put out, he was also the intended recipient of tweets by others. In 2019, Donald Trump was tagged on Twitter at a rate of 1,000 times per minute, according to The New York Times.[10]

Device security

After the inauguration, the White House would not comment on whether Trump was using a secure phone.[46]

Before, he had been using a Samsung Galaxy S3 which only has Android 4.3.1 as its latest OS, a version of Android which Google marked as unsupported and discontinued as of Trump's inauguration.[47] Since then, he has used an iPhone to use Twitter.[48]

On May 21, 2018, Politico reported that Trump uses the Twitter app on an iPhone that lacks certain security features and "has gone as long as five months without having the phone checked by security experts."[49]

On October 24, 2018, The New York Times reported that Trump still uses his personal iPhones for phone calls, even though his aides and U.S. intelligence officials have warned him that Russian and Chinese spies are listening.[50] Trump responded by tweeting: "I only use Government Phones." The tweet was sent from an iPhone.[51] (In the same tweet, he claimed that he has only one such government phone and that it is "seldom used.")[52]

Trump's @realDonaldTrump Twitter account has been breached twice by Dutch hacker Victor Gevers, both times by guessing weak passwords. The first incident took place in 2016, using the guessed password "yourefired". The password was guessed because it had previously been discovered in a 2012 LinkedIn password breach.[53] The second incident took place in October 2020, when his account was breached by guessing the password "maga2020!".[54][55] Although reports of the second attack were denied by Twitter and the White House, they were later confirmed by Dutch prosecutors in December 2020.[56]

Tweets as official statements

Throughout his presidency, Trump frequently appeared to issue orders through his tweets. Whether these tweets were official directives has been disputed.[57][58] A US National Archives spokesman said that Trump's tweets are considered presidential records.[59]

In 2017, the Department of Justice argued in one court case that Trump's tweets were "official statements of the President of the United States."[60] In another cases, the DOJ argued they were official policy statements but that the tweets were also "personal conduct that is not an exercise of state power."[60] The ABA Journal wrote in 2017, "There’s little caselaw on to what extent government use of social media can be considered official or a "public forum," which affords First Amendment protection to people who might be excluded based on their viewpoints."[60]

In 2019, the Secretary of the U.S. Navy said he did not interpret a Trump tweet as a "a formal order to act" after Trump tweeted that the Navy should not take away Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher's status as a Navy SEAL.[61]

In 2020, a court asked that Trump clarify his intention after he tweeted what appeared to be an order calling for the disclosure of documents related to Russian interference in the 2016 election. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows clarified that the tweet in question was not an official directive. Meadows said: "The President indicated to me that his statements on Twitter were not self-executing declassification orders and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents."[62]

Timeline

In 2009, marketing staffer Peter Costanzo suggested to Trump that he could use social media to draw attention to his book, Think Like a Champion, which was due to be released later that year. He was unable to use the username @DonaldTrump, as it was already being used by a parody account. He and his marketing team decided to use the username @realDonaldTrump.[63] Trump joined Twitter in March 2009 and sent out his first tweet on May 4, 2009, advertising his upcoming appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, which was due to air a couple of days later.[63]

From 2009 to 2011, tweets posted by the @realDonaldTrump account included the phrase "from Donald Trump" to distinguish them from those written by his staff, but by about June 2011, as Trump's use of the platform increased, those identifying labels disappeared.[63] During the 2016 campaign, some tweets were sent from an Android phone, and others from an iPhone.[64][65] The Android tweets were more likely to be sent outside of business hours and to take a more combative tone. The iPhone tweets were suspected to be written and sent by members of Trump's staff, a suspicion that was largely confirmed using sentiment analysis;[66] machine learning and natural language processing could still frequently distinguish Trump's tweets from others sent in his name, even when staffers attempted to emulate his writing style.[67]

In 2012, following the victory of President Barack Obama in the US presidential election, Trump tweeted a chain of disparaging comments about Obama's win. He mocked Obama for playing basketball and blamed the Chinese for creating "the concept of global warming". Trump tweeted the next day, "but we'll have to live with it!" and: "We have to make America great again!"[68] In response, Obama sarcastically quipped on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno: "This all dates back to when [he and Trump] were growing up together in Kenya," referring to the birther conspiracy.[69][70]

From 2013 onward, Trump's Twitter activity pattern significantly increased in the volume of his tweets and the rate of politically charged rhetoric.[71][72]

Twitter was an important political communication tool of Trump's presidential election campaign in 2016, and has been credited as contributing to his victory.[73] Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci recalled that Trump: "felt that there was no separation between his brand and the media, that there was an intersection of value for himself personally between his brand and saturating it in the media".[74] Daniel Pfeiffer, Obama's former strategy communications advisor, commented that Trump is: "way better at the internet than anyone else in the GOP which is partly why he is winning".[75] According to The New York Times, other presidential aides have described Trump "as a sophisticated version of a parrot, given his penchant for repeating information almost unfiltered, as soon as he had processed it."[74]

In 2017, Trump was described as "possibly the first 'social media' and 'reality TV' president" in an article by Van Jones on CNN's website in October 2017. Following Trump's inauguration, he gained control of the official U.S. presidential Twitter account (@POTUS), which had been created by the previous president, Barack Obama. Trump's first tweets as president were made from his personal account, but he has used both accounts.[76] After Joe Biden won the November 2020 presidential election, Twitter said it planned to hand over the @POTUS account to Biden upon his inauguration on January 20, 2021.[77]

Live-tweeting Fox & Friends

Trump is a known viewer of the Fox News show Fox & Friends and has tweeted reactions to what he has seen on the show on numerous occasions. One well-known example is his tweet on January 2, 2018, when he stated that his "Nuclear Button" was "much bigger & more powerful" than Kim Jong-un's, following a Fox News segment about Kim's "nuclear button" minutes before. Trump watches several hours of cable news shows each day, using the "Super TiVo" he had installed at the White House.[78] News organizations have compiled lists of Trump tweets directly repeating what he was watching. The result is that stories that Fox concentrates on become nationally important stories by virtue of the fact that they appear in presidential tweets, setting up a feedback loop.[79] During his first year in office, he mentioned the Fox & Friends Twitter account more than any other account.[80]

Insults

In January 2016, a review by The New York Times found that one in every eight posts by Trump on Twitter "was a personal insult of some kind".[81] As of January 2019, Trump had insulted 551 people (including private citizens), places, and things on Twitter, ranging from politicians to journalists and news outlets to entire countries.[82] In January 2021, the New York Times published an inventory of all of Trump's Twitter insults since 2015.[83]

Trump often gave opponents nicknames such as "Crooked Hillary"[84] and "Lyin' Ted".[85][86] In 2015, he tweeted against an 18-year-old college student who had challenged him at a New Hampshire political forum, which led to a wave of online harassment against her.[87] In December 2016, as president-elect, he responded to criticism from the president of United Steelworkers Local 1999 in Indiana by tweeting that the local union leader "has done a terrible job representing workers";[88] the union president received threatening phone calls afterward.[89]

International threats

United States president Trump with the emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, May 2017

The Qatar diplomatic crisis is an escalation of the Qatar–Saudi Arabia diplomatic conflict, it began when several countries abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017. These countries included Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt, which cited Qatar's alleged support for terrorism as the main reason for their actions.[90] The severing of relations included withdrawing ambassadors, and imposing trade and travel bans. Trump claimed credit for engineering the diplomatic crisis in a series of tweets.[91] On June 6, Trump began by tweeting: "During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!"[92][91] An hour and a half later, he remarked on Twitter that it was "good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference [sic] was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!"[93][94] This was in contrast to attempts by the Pentagon and State department to remain neutral. The Pentagon praised Qatar for hosting the Al Udeid Air Base and for its "enduring commitment to regional security." US ambassador to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith, sent a similar message.[95][96] Earlier, the US secretary of state had taken a neutral stance and called for dialogue.[97]

In September 2017, Trump posted tweets about North Korea that some saw as violating Twitter's rule against making threats of violence. On September 19, he stated that under certain circumstances, "we will have no choice but to totally destroy #NoKo", and on September 23, "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!" ("Little Rocket Man" was Trump's nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.) In response to user concerns, Twitter cited newsworthiness and whether the tweet is of public interest as factors they consider in whether a tweet violates their rules. The company acknowledged that these guidelines are internal, and stated they would update their public-facing rules to reflect them.[99]

On January 4, 2020, Trump threatened in a tweet that "if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets," it could expect that "52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago)...important to Iran & the Iranian culture" would be "HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD." Deliberately targeting cultural sites would have been a war crime. The next day, he tweeted: "Should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner."[100]

Sharing of violent, far-right, and extremist content

Trump has been criticized for his practice of retweeting or copying material from social media accounts posting antisemitic, racist, or false information, such as claims exaggerating the number of crimes committed by black people.[101][102][103]

PolitiFact singled out as particularly obviously false an image retweeted by Trump that claimed that 81% of white murder victims are killed by black people. Politifact noted that, besides being a five-fold exaggeration, the claim was sourced to the non-existent "Crime Statistics Bureau, San Francisco"; it later highlighted this retweet when awarding its 2015 "Lie of the Year" badge to Trump's entire presidential campaign.[104][105] The fake statistics were first posted by a neo-Nazi Twitter account.[103]

An image posted by Trump on July 2, 2016 called Hillary Clinton the "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!" and featured a six-pointed star reminiscent of the Jewish Star of David; the image first appeared in a June 15 tweet by "@FishBoneHead1," a Twitter account described by the Associated Press as being known for "anti-Clinton and right-leaning messages and images" and by Mic as promoting "violent, racist memes," before making its way to 8chan's /pol/ on June 22.[106][107] Trump's social media manager Dan Scavino responded that the image had been sourced by him from a Twitter page "where countless images appear" and that he had assumed that the star referred to a sheriff's badge.[106][107][108] Under two hours later, the tweet was deleted from Trump's account in favor of a nearly identical tweet with a circle in place of the star, but Trump later blamed the deletion on his staff, stating: "I would've rather defended it."[107][109] Jeremy Diamond of CNN observed: "It wasn't the six-pointed star alone that evoked anti-Semitism – it's the combination of the star with a background of money and an accusation of corruption, which suggests stereotypical views of Jews and money and raises conspiracy theories that Jews control political systems."[110] The episode led Dana Schwartz, a Jewish employee of Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, to write an open letter to him in protest, to which he responded.[111][112]

President Trump with Prime Minister Theresa May in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C., January 27, 2017. The May Ministry condemned Trump's Tweets and Britain First.

On November 29, 2017, Trump retweeted three inflammatory and unverified anti-Muslim videos from Britain First, a British far-right and ultranationalist group that has a history of posting misleading videos.[113] One of the videos purported to show an assault by a Muslim immigrant, but the assailant was neither a Muslim nor an immigrant.[114] Another video was filmed in 2013 during the Syrian Civil War, showing a man, who is believed to be an Al-Nusra supporter, destroying a statue of Mary and stating: "No-one but Allah will be worshipped in the land of the Levant." A third video contains footage filmed during a period of violent unrest following the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état.[115][116][117][118] The videos had been shared by Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen, who was convicted of religiously aggravated harassment in Britain in 2016.[113] Trump's promoting inflammatory content from an extremist group was without precedent among modern American presidents.[119]

Trump's actions were widely condemned both in the U.S. and abroad by politicians, commentators and religious leaders of various faiths and across the political spectrum; also by several civil rights and advocacy groups and organizations.[120][121][122][123][113][124] The incident resulted in calls for Trump to be banned from the UK,[121][125][126] but his invitation to visit to the United Kingdom was not withdrawn.[127] When asked by PBS NewsHour, 29 Democratic and four Republican senators criticized the tweets.[128][129] Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May said in a statement, "it is wrong for the president to have done this" and "Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions."[130][129] Then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called Britain First a "hateful" organization which does not reflect British values. However, he did abstain from calling out President Trump for sharing the videos.[131]

Trump's sharing of the tweets was praised across far-right circles, increased Islamophobic comment on social media, and elevated the profile of Britain First.[132][133] In Britain, Fransen and Britain First leader Paul Golding hailed Trump's re-tweets, saying: "Donald Trump himself has retweeted these videos and has around 44 million followers! God Bless You Trump!"[134][121][117][135][136]

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump's tweets, saying "Whether it's a real video [sic], the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about."[127] On November 30, 2017, Sanders said that Trump's actions "elevate the conversation to talk about a real issue and a real threat, that’s extreme violence and extreme terrorism."[137] Trump responded to criticism from May by publicly rebuking her on Twitter, sparking a rare rift between the United Kingdom and the United States.[138] On December 18, almost three weeks after being retweeted by Trump, the accounts of Britain First, Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were all suspended by Twitter.[139]

In a January 2018 interview with Piers Morgan for Good Morning Britain, Trump said he was not familiar with Britain First when he retweeted them, stating, "If you are telling me they’re horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologise if you’d like me to do that."[140]

In August 2018, Trump tweeted that he had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to "closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers". The tweet was sent shortly after a segment by Fox News where Tucker Carlson claimed that the "racist government of South Africa" was targeting white-owned farms for land reform due to anti-white racism.[141] In response, South Africa's Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu claimed that Trump was expressing "right-wing ideology" and also added that the South African government had requested an explanation for the tweet from the US Chargé D'affaires.[142] The US Embassy in South Africa rebuked Trump's tweet, claiming that there is "no evidence that murders on farms specifically target white people or are politically motivated".[141] There are no reliable figures that suggest that white farmers are at greater risk of being killed than the average South African,[143][144] and the fact-checking organization Afri-Check claims that "whites are less likely to be murdered than any other race group" in South Africa.[145] The talking point is often used by far-right groups as evidence for a white genocide in South Africa. This has been condemned as false by Genocide Watch.[146]

In July and August 2019, Trump retweeted British commentator Katie Hopkins. In one of these tweets, Hopkins praised four right-wing politicians: Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Matteo Salvini of Italy, Victor Orban of Hungary and Jarosław Kaczyński of Poland. In that same tweet, Hopkins said that, "god-willing/jihadi-failing," she would be alive to see "Boris Johnson in Number 10," "Trump in the White House," and "Netanyahu building Israel". Another comment that Trump retweeted was Hopkins' attack on London mayor Sadiq Khan, who is Muslim, in which she blamed him for the city's violent crime rate.[147][148][149] Twitter permanently deleted Hopkins' account in June 2020 for violating its "Hateful Conduct" policy.[150]

Trump made violent allusions in two late-night tweets in May 2020.[151] In one message, Trump retweeted a video in which one of his supporters (Couy Griffin, a county commissioner in New Mexico and founder of "Cowboys for Trump") says, "The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat."[151][152] Griffin subsequently said that he was speaking of a "political death" rather than a literal death,[151][152] but then spoke of an uprising if Democrats win the election and suggested executing Democrats.[151] Twenty-five hours later, Trump tweeted, in reference to violence in Minneapolis, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."[151] This message was subsequently flagged by Twitter as "glorifying violence" (see below).[151]

In a tweet on June 9, 2020, Trump falsely claimed that a 75-year-old George Floyd protester in Buffalo, New York, who was knocked to ground by two police officers, "fell harder than he was pushed," and could be an "antifa provocateur."[154][155][156][157][158][159][160] Trump's tweet referred to a conspiracy theory promoted by the far-right One America News Network channel[161][162] and Kristian Rouz of OANN, who has also worked for the Russian propaganda outlet Sputnik News.[163] The OANN claim was itself based on an claim on an anonymous right-wing blog.[164][162] No evidence supports Trump's claims that the man was an "antifa" member,[158][160][165] that the incident was a setup,[159] that the man fell "harder than he was pushed,"[166] or that the man was attempting to "scan" police devices.[157][159] The officers videotaped pushing the protester were suspended without pay and charged with assault.[154][156]

On June 28, 2020, Trump retweeted a video showing profane arguments between anti-Trump and pro-Trump protesters in The Villages, Florida, a retirement community. In the video, a pro-Trump protester can twice be heard yelling "white power" at the anti-Trump protesters. In his tweet, Trump thanked the pro-Trump protesters shown in the video, calling them "great people".[167][168][169]

The tweet was widely criticized as racist.[168] Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina (the Senate's sole black Republican) called the tweet "indefensible" and asked Trump to delete it.[168][167] Trump subsequently deleted the post,[168][167] without condemning the "white power" statement or disavowing his supporter's act.[168] White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere defended Trump, claiming "President Trump is a big fan of The Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters."[168]

Many White House officials claimed to have tried to reach out to Trump while the tweet was still up asking him to delete it, but that they couldn't reach him because he had put his phone down while playing golf at his Virginia golf club.[170]

Election integrity

In a succession of tweets on March 4, 2017,[171][a] President Trump stated he had "just found out" that former president Obama had wiretapped the phones in his offices at Trump Tower during the last months of the 2016 election. Trump did not say where he had obtained the information and offered no evidence to support it.[172] Trump compared the alleged intrusion to McCarthyism and Watergate. Anonymous White House officials told The Washington Post that Trump did not appear to coordinate his comments with other White House officials.[173]

The tweets resulted in a week of media attention given to the allegations, despite scarce evidence. Fake news websites also took up the allegations, and one claimed that a warrant for Barack Obama's arrest had been given.[171][173]

In September, CNN reported that the FBI wiretapped Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, in 2016-17, either during or after his tenure with the Trump campaign. It is not known whether any surveillance of Manafort took place at Trump Tower and there is no evidence that Obama requested the wiretap, which was authorized by a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrant.[174][175][176][177]

Trump has repeatedly attacked former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump dismissed from office, via Twitter.[178] Trump has posted a number of angry tweets directed at Robert Mueller, who was appointed as a special prosecutor to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.[179][180]

On July 30, 2020, President Trump claimed that universal mail-in ballots for the 2020 election will lead to widespread fraud. He then suggested that the election should be delayed until people can safely cast ballots in person. Trump's proposal came with widespread backlash from leaders across the political spectrum, including several Republicans.[181][182] South Carolina Senator and Trump ally, Lindsey Graham, said that delaying the election "is not a particularly good idea." Florida Senator Marco Rubio wished Trump "hadn't said that" and reiterated that the election will be held in November. A similar statement was echoed by New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu who said that "Election Day will be held on November 3rd. End of story."[183] Legal experts, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to Trump's suggestion by saying that only Congress could change the date of the election, not the President.[184][185] Later that day, President Trump said in a press conference that he does not want to see a delay in the election, though he did reiterate his fears about voter fraud.[186]

On January 5, 2021, President Trump falsely claimed on Twitter that Vice President Mike Pence had the power to toss out fraudulent electoral votes.[189][190]

On January 6, Twitter declared that they had indefinitely locked Trump's account for "repeated and severe violations" of their Civic Integrity policy. "Locking" meant that Trump could not post new tweets but meanwhile his existing tweets could still be viewed by the public. Twitter Safety publicly explained that, if Trump deleted three specific tweets, a 12-hour waiting period would go into effect and then his account would be unlocked. The tweets were immediately deleted.[191][192] Overnight, while Trump's account was still locked, a message from him was posted to his assistant Dan Scavino's account. In that message, Trump promised "an orderly transition on January 20th" but also emphasized that "I totally disagree with the outcome of the election" and that this moment was "only the beginning of our fight."[193]

Trump would only tweet three more times from his personal account. His next tweet was on January 7 at 7:10 p.m. Eastern; it was a brief video that was widely reported in the news as his concession speech. In the video, he acknowledged that a new administration would be sworn into office and that he would no longer be president.[194][195] On January 8 at 9:46 a.m. Eastern, he called the people who voted for him "American Patriots," assured they would have a "GIANT VOICE," and affirmed they would not tolerate disrespect.[196] At 10:44 a.m. Eastern, he tweeted "I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th."[197] Later that day, Twitter permanently suspended Trump's account. In a blog post, the company explained that the two tweets on January 8 "are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so."[20]

Other controversial tweets

The COVFEFE Act

On May 31, 2017, Trump sent a tweet that read, in its entirety, "Despite the constant negative press covfefe". It immediately went viral as an Internet meme and a source of jokes.[198][199] It got over 127,000 retweets and 162,000 likes, making it one of Trump's most popular tweets in months. Six hours later, Trump deleted it and issued a new tweet asking what people thought covfefe might mean.[200] The Independent later speculated that covfefe was a typo for coverage.[201]

Off-camera, at a press briefing later the same day, White House press secretary Sean Spicer explained that "the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant". No further explanation was given during the briefing.[202] Some reporters said that Spicer did not appear to be joking. Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg suggested in the National Review that "Spicer feels compelled to protect the myth of Trumpian infallibility at all costs".[203] The Atlantic's Megan Garber felt that Spicer's response further divided the White House from the public by unnecessarily creating a "whiff of conspiracy" around a likely typo.[204] At The Washington Post, Callum Borchers argued that Spicer's response had been deliberately obscure to distract the public from other controversies.[205]

Leonid Bershidsky, writing for Bloomberg View, compared the phenomenon to President Ronald Reagan's joke on a live microphone, "We begin bombing in five minutes."[206] Bill Coffin of Compliance Week compared the two incidents: "In Reagan's case, he immediately admitted the error and squashed it. In Trump's case, he sent a wrong message and then allowed it to sit for hours untended."[207]

Two weeks later, Democratic representative Mike Quigley filed legislation titled the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement (COVFEFE) Act. The bill would amend the Presidential Records Act to cover social media, thus requiring tweets and other social media posts by the U.S. president to be preserved under law.[208] As of January 2020, the bill has still not progressed.[209]

About a year later, on May 17, 2018, Trump jokingly said "I hear covfefe" in response to the Yanny or Laurel meme.[210]

After the 2017 London Bridge attack, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan condemned it and said that "the city remains one of the safest in the world" and there was "no reason to be alarmed" over the increased police presence around the city.[211][212] The latter comment was taken out of context and criticized by Trump in a tweet: "At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!'"[213][214]

Trump's comments were described as a deliberate misrepresentation of Khan's remarks by Khan's spokesman,[215] as well as by former U.S. vice president Al Gore. Prime Minister Theresa May said that "Sadiq Khan is doing a good job and it is wrong to say anything else".[214] Conservative minister Penny Mordaunt and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also backed Khan. Farron said, "Sadiq Khan has shown calm and dignified resolve in the face of these cowardly terrorist attacks. He is more of a statesman than Donald Trump will ever be."[216] Lewis Lukens, the former US ambassador to the UK, and the United States Conference of Mayors declared their support, with Lukens commending Khan's "strong leadership" in leading London forward after the attack and also praising the "extraordinary response" from the law enforcement community.[217][218] Trump tweeted the following day that the London Mayor was offering a "pathetic excuse" for his statement, and alleging that the mainstream media were "working hard to sell" Khan's explanation.[214][215][219][220] When asked about these comments following a vigil held near Tower Bridge, Khan stated that he was busy dealing with the aftermath of the attack and declared that he has not "got the time to respond to tweets from Donald Trump".[220]

Trump's sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, defended his comments and claimed that Khan, who worked along with the security services and held a vigil for victims of the attack, was not doing enough to combat terrorism. Trump Jr. stated that Khan should stop attacking his father, despite the fact that Khan did not respond to Trump's comments.[221]

Senator John McCain criticized the comments made by Trump, stating that America was "not showing leadership around the world."[222] During the same discussion, McCain also commented that the former president Barack Obama and his administration had offered better leadership. He later partially retracted by stating that only certain "different aspects" were better during Obama's presidency, but still stood by his criticism of Trump's social media views.[223][224]

On June 29, 2017, Trump tweeted about Morning Joe hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who earlier in the day had talked about Trump on their show. The tweets referred to the hosts as "low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe", and claimed that Brzezinski tried to join Trump on New Year's Eve but was declined because she was bleeding from a facelift.[227]

The comments were quickly met with condemnation from both the left and the right. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, stated, "Obviously, I don't see that as an appropriate comment."[227] Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, stated that the tweet "really saddens me because it is so beneath the dignity of the president of the United States to engage in such behavior".[228] Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins tweeted, "This has to stop – we all have a job – 3 branches of gov't and media. We don't have to get along, but we must show respect and civility."[228] Rebukes also came from Oklahoma Republican senator James Lankford, New York Democratic representative Nita Lowey, and Kansas Republican representative Lynn Jenkins.[228]

MSNBC stated, "It's a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job."[229] Aaron Blake of The Washington Post wrote an article titled "Trump's very bad tweets about Mika Brzezinski are a microcosm of his struggling presidency."[230]

Seemingly in defense of Trump, Melania Trump's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham released the statement: "As the First Lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder."[225] Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated, "Look, I don't think that the president's ever been someone who gets attacked and doesn't push back. ... This is a president who fights fire with fire and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media and the liberal elites in Hollywood or anywhere else."[231]

On July 1, 2017, Trump tweeted "Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people, but their low rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses. Too bad!"[232]

After these tweets, Trump's approval rating decreased from 40% to 37%, according to a Gallup poll.[14] However, the RealClearPolitics average of polls showed his approval rating remained virtually unchanged in the same time period.[233]

In May 2020, Trump called on Scarborough to be investigated for the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, who had been one of Scarborough's aides when he was serving in Congress. Klausutis was found dead in Scarborough's district office in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, having fallen and hit her head on a desk; her autopsy revealed she had had an undiagnosed heart condition, and her death was ruled accidental. Scarborough himself was in Washington at the time of her death. Trump's tweets claimed that he "would always be thinking about whether or not Joe could have done such a horrible thing" while being interviewed by Scarborough and his "wacky future ex-wife" Brzezinski in 2016.[234]

On May 21, 2020, Timothy Klausutis, Lori's widower, wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (the letter was subsequently published by The New York Times), calling upon him to delete Trump's tweets, pointing out that "an ordinary user like me would be banished from the platform for such a tweet" and accusing Trump of having "taken something that does not belong to him – the memory of my dead wife – and perverted it for perceived political gain". A Twitter spokesperson said the tweets did not violate Twitter's terms of service but added that the company aims to "more effectively address things like this going forward" through updated features and policies.[226] Trump's promotion of the conspiracy drew rare rebukes amongst Republican officials such as Adam Kinzinger, Liz Cheney, and Mitt Romney.[235][236] In addition, some conservative media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Examiner also criticized Trump for promoting the debunked conspiracy.[237]

On July 2, 2017, Trump tweeted a video of himself attacking Vince McMahon during WrestleMania 23 with the CNN logo over McMahon's face. In response, Brian Stelter of CNN issued a statement saying that Trump was "encouraging violence against reporters" and "involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office".[238][239][240][241] CNN also responded to the tweet by quoting Sarah Huckabee Sanders who claimed the previous week "The president in no way form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence."[238] Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert said that "no one would perceive [the tweet] as a threat."[238][242] Trump subsequently said that CNN took the post too seriously, adding that CNN has "hurt themselves very badly".[243]

The clip appeared on pro-Trump subreddit, /r/The Donald, about four days earlier,[238][244][245][246] and was created by a Reddit account which had previously posted racist, antisemitic and bigoted content.[247] A White House official later denied that the video came from Reddit; the official declined "to respond to questions about where the president obtained the clip."[248] As of December 20, 2017, the tweet had been retweeted over 330,000 times, making it Trump's most retweeted post.[249]

As president, Trump has frequently used Twitter to make personal attacks against federal judges who have ruled against him in court cases.[250][251][252] In February 2017, Trump referred to U.S. district judge James Robart, who had enjoined Trump's travel ban from taking effect, as a "so-called judge" and wrote, "If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!"[252] Legal experts expressed concerns that such comments undermined the federal judiciary and could "undermine public confidence in an institution capable checking his power."[251]

In June 2017, Trump criticized his own United States Department of Justice for defending his "watered down, politically correct version" of a travel ban (which Trump signed in March 2017) in court, rather than an initial version of the ban that Trump has signed in January 2017 (and was later declared unconstitutional by federal courts).[253][254][255] In January 2018, Trump tweeted that his Justice Department is part of the American "deep state".[256] In March 2018, Trump tweeted that "there was tremendous leaking, lying and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, Justice & State" Departments.[257] Previously in December 2017, Trump tweeted that the FBI's "reputation" was at its worst ever after years under James Comey.[258]

In June 2017, Trump tweeted that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's investigation of Trump (via a special counsel Robert Mueller) was a "witch hunt".[259] In March 2018, Trump reiterated that the "Mueller probe should never have been started" and was a "WITCH HUNT!".[260]

Trump has tweeted disapproval of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on various occasions.[261][262][263][264][265]

In October 2017, Trump tweeted that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was "wasting his time trying to negotiate with" North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.[266] In March 2018, Trump fired Tillerson via a tweet.[267]

In February 2018, after National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster said there was "incontrovertible" evidence that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election, Trump tweeted that McMaster "forgot to say" that the Russians had colluded with the Democrats and that the Russians had not impacted the election results.[268]

Trump was accused of racism after tweeting on July 14, 2019 that certain Democratic congresswomen should "go back and help fix" the countries they came from rather than criticize the American government.[269] The tweets did not explicitly name which congresswomen Trump was referring to, but they were widely understood as targeting freshmen House Democrats of color Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar, an informal grouping known as "The Squad".[269][270] Some of the women have been highly critical of U.S. policy; Ocasio-Cortez, with agreement from Tlaib, described detention centers along the Mexico-U.S. Border as concentration camps, and Omar once tweeted that US support for Israel was motivated by money – a tweet she later deleted after facing extensive criticism from politicians on both sides.[271][272][273]

All but Congresswoman Omar were born in the United States, with Omar being a naturalized citizen since 2000. This was an example of false attribution of foreignness.[274][275] House speaker Nancy Pelosi described Trump's tweets as xenophobic.[269][270] Several Republican senators and representatives condemned Trump's tweets as xenophobic and not representative of the party's values and requested that he disavow them.[276] On July 16 the House of Representatives voted 240-187 to condemn Trump's "racist comments".[11] Many white nationalists/white supremacists praised Trump's tweet.[277][278] Commentators pointed out that during the campaign, Trump had criticized America in far stronger terms than those now used by Squad members.[279] Trump's remarks were condemned by many world leaders including Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau ("The comments made were hurtful, wrong and completely unacceptable. I want everyone in Canada to know that those comments are completely unacceptable and should not be allowed or encouraged in Canada"),[280] German Chancellor Angela Merkel (who expressed "solidarity with the attacked women"),[281] and president of the European Council Donald Tusk ("sometimes if you feel that something is totally unacceptable you have to react despite business, despite interests").[280]

Trump denied that his tweets were racist, offering his justification during a press conference at the White House that "If somebody has a problem with our country, if someone doesn’t want to be in our country, they should leave."[283]

In August 2019, Trump tweeted that Omar and Tlaib resolutely "hate Israel & all Jewish people", and that Israel permitting them to visit the country would "show great weakness". Less than two hours later, Israel blocked the entry of Omar and Tlaib, which was a reversal from statements made in July 2019 by Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer. Spokesmen for Israeli ministers did not cite Trump as contributing to the blockage.[284] Trump applauded Israel's decision while continuing his criticism of Omar and Tlaib; he described them as "the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel".[285]

In August 2019, after the death of Jeffrey Epstein, President Trump retweeted a video from a right-wing comedian named Terrence K. Williams accusing the Clintons of murdering Epstein, despite the lack of evidence. Then presidential candidate and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker slammed Trump for promoting the conspiracy, saying that he is "whipping people into anger" and that it could lead to violent actions.[286] Former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake also criticized the President, tweeting that it's "not fine to promote conspiracy theories" and that "we expect more from our President."[287] Trump defended the retweet, calling Williams "a highly respected conservative pundit." He also said that "he didn't know" whether or not the Clintons were involved, but mentioned that Bill Clinton had ridden on Epstein's plane 27 times. While Clinton only rode on Epstein's plane four times, these flights had multiple legs, which is where the theory of Clinton riding Epstein's plane 27 times comes from.[288]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, several people protested the lock downs and demanded that states be reopened. On April 17, President Trump tweeted calling for the "liberation" of Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia in all caps. The tweets were widely criticized and Liberate America soon trended on Twitter after Trump's remarks.[289][290]

In July 2020, Linkin Park issued a cease and desist letter to Donald Trump for retweeting a campaign video that featured an unlicensed song. Twitter soon disabled the video.[294]

On July 27, 2020, President Trump criticized the Twitter Trending section for spreading trends that negatively portrayed him, calling it "really ridiculous, illegal, and, of course, very unfair!"[295] Many Twitter users condemned this tweet, claiming that users were simply exercising First Amendment rights. In response to the tweet, "#TrumpleThinSkin" and "#ThePresidentIsACrybaby" became trending hashtags in the United States.[296]

On July 23, 2020, Trump tweeted that the "suburban housewives of America" must read an article from the New York Post, claiming that the 2020 Democratic candidate for president, Joe Biden, would "destroy your neighborhood and the American dream" if elected.[298]

Also in July 2020, the Trump administration had made changes to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing implemented by former President Obama. This act mandated local communities to fix any prejudices regarding building low-income housing before receiving federal funds. On July 29, Trump sent out a tweet regarding the change, saying that "people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered" about low-income housing being built in their communities.[299]

On October 5, 2020, Trump tweeted that he would be leaving Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 3 days after being admitted after testing positive for COVID-19, writing "Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!"[300][301] Trump's tweet undermined public health messaging and encouraged followers to disregard recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.[301] Scientific, medical, public health, and ethical experts, pandemic survivors, and the families those killed by COVID-19 expressed horror and dismay at Trump's attempt to downplay the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States,[300][301] which at the time of Trump's tweet had killed at least 210,000 Americans.[301]

In Twitter and Facebook posts early the next morning, Trump falsely claimed that seasonal flu was more lethal than COVID-19; Twitter placed a warning message over the tweet, while Facebook deleted in entirely, based on the sites' policies against the spread of COVID-19 misinformation.[302][303] Several hours later, Trump reacted by tweeting: "REPEAL SECTION 230!!!"—a reference to Section 230, the section of U.S. law that immunizes technology companies from liability for moderation decisions.[302]

Tweets during impeachment

Trump made several controversial tweets during his impeachment inquiry, impeachment by the House (December 2019), and Senate trial and acquittal (February 2020).

In a late September 2019 tweet, Trump controversially quoted Texas pastor Robert Jeffress, who stated that if Trump was removed from office, it would cause a "Civil War like fracture, from which this country would never heal".[304] His comments were criticized by Senator Kamala Harris (Democrat of California), who urged Twitter to suspend Trump's account,[305] and Representative Adam Kinzinger (Republican of Illinois), who called it "beyond repugnant."[306] Harvard Law School professor John Coates argued that "a sitting president threatening civil war if Congress exercises its constitutionally authorized power" constituted an independent ground for impeachment.[307] Mary B. McCord of Georgetown University Law School, a former Justice Department national security official, said that armed militia-movement groups were likely to take Trump's "civil war" tweets seriously.[304] #CivilWar2 trended on Twitter soon after Trump's tweet.[308]

Trump repeatedly used Twitter to attack and threaten U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who led the investigation into the Trump–Ukraine scandal and served as the lead House impeachment manager during Trump's Senate trial.[309][310] In a September 30, 2019 tweet, Trump suggested that Schiff be arrested for treason.[311] In a January 26, 2020 tweet, during his Senate trial, Trump called Schiff "a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man" who "has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!"[310] When asked about the apparent veiled threat on Meet the Press,[312] Schiff said he believed that Trump intended to threaten him and said that Trump was a "wrathful and vindictive president"[310] who "wants to at least give the suggestion that the retribution should be of a kind other than at the ballot box."[313]

Trump also repeatedly used Twitter to attack and threaten the whistleblower who submitted a report to the Intelligence Community inspector general about Trump's conduct; Trump also used Twitter to spread conspiracy theories about the whistleblower.[309][314] In December 2019, Trump retweeted a link to an unconfirmed Washington Examiner story that purported to identify the whistleblower, although whistle-blowers' identifies are protected by federal law.[315][316] Trump was criticized for this.[315][316]

In late October, President Trump called the impeachment process a lynching in a tweet, adding that he had no due process. The tweet drew widespread backlash from politicians across the political spectrum.[317] Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it an "unfortunate choice of words." Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher said that "rhetoric shouldn't be used, plain and simple." [318] House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a press conference "that's not the language I would use." Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush, who is African American, called on Trump to take down the tweet. California Senator Kamala Harris slammed Trump, saying "How dare he!?" make those statements. However, a few Republicans did defend Trump. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said that "this is a lynching." Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan argued that "the President is just frustrated."[319][320]

In support of the border wall

Trump has repeatedly tweeted about the arrest of illegal aliens on criminal charges as an argument for building a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Criminal prosecutions that he has discussed in this context include that of Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman,[322][323] Gustavo Arriaga Perez,[324][325] and Cristhian Bahena Rivera.[326]

Blocking of Twitter users

The @realDonaldTrump account has blocked an unknown number of Twitter accounts from viewing his Twitter feed, including celebrities such as Rosie O'Donnell, Anne Rice, Chrissy Teigen, and Stephen King, people from all walks of life such as Bess Kalb, Andy Signore, Angelo Carusone, and Laura Packard, and organizations such as VoteVets.org.[327][328][329]

In July 2017, a lawsuit was brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs were 7 Twitter users, Philip N. Cohen, Eugene Gu, Holly Figueroa O'Reilly, Nicholas Pappas, Joseph M. Papp, Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, and Brandon Neely, whose accounts had been blocked by Trump's personal Twitter account, alleging that the @realDonaldTrump account constitutes a public forum.[330] The lawsuit argues that blocking access to the @realDonaldTrump account is a violation of constitutional rights and a violation of the plaintiff's First Amendment rights.[331] The lawsuit also names as defendants White House press secretary Sean Spicer and social media director Dan Scavino.[332][333]

In 2018, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that the plaintiffs "were indisputably blocked as a result of viewpoint discrimination"; that elements of @realDonaldTrump constitute a public forum; and that viewpoint discrimination in those elements that are public forums violated the First Amendment.[334] After this ruling, the 7 Twitter users that were a part of the lawsuit were unblocked.[335] In August, the Knight First Amendment Institute sent a letter to the U.S. Justice Department requesting that the President comply with the Judge's ruling and unblock a list of 41 additional Twitter users, including Danny Zuker, MoveOn activist Jordan Uhl, health care activist Laura Packard, and journalists like Alex Kotch and Jules Suzdaltsev.[336] Those users were then unblocked by @realDonaldTrump.[337]

In 2019, the Second Circuit upheld Buchwald's ruling, stating that because Trump has conducted official government business over Twitter, he cannot block Americans from the account based on viewpoint.[338]

In July 2020, The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued Donald Trump again, on behalf of users that were blocked before Trump's inauguration, or who were not able to identify which tweet prompted Trump to block them.[339]

Trump petitioned the Supreme Court in August 2020 to hear his appeal of the Second Circuit's decision to uphold Judge Buchwald's opinion. Trump's petition requested the Supreme Court to answer the question "Whether the First Amendment deprives a government official of his right to control his personal Twitter account by blocking third-party accounts if he uses that personal account in part to announce official actions and policies."[340] Post-election, this case is still pending before the Supreme Court.[341]

Effects on litigation

Trump's statements in tweets have been cited in court challenges against his actions as president; his Twitter posts on Muslims have been significant in legal challenges to Executive Order 13769 (which Trump has called a "travel ban"), as courts have considered Trump's statements in their assessments of the motivations and purpose of the order.[342] In 2017, Trump's tweets were cited by both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which upheld rulings blocking Trump's executive order as unconstitutional. In its opinion, the Fourth Circuit cited the "backdrop of public statements by the President and his advisers and representatives" as evidence that the order "drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination"; the Ninth Circuit wrote that "throughout these judicial proceedings, the president has continued to make generalized, often inflammatory, statements about the Muslim faith and its adherents," including through Tweets.[343] Peter J. Spiro, a legal scholar at Temple University, noted that Trump's November 2017 tweets of anti-Muslim videos would almost certainly be cited by challengers to Trump's third version of a travel ban, as evidence that the orders were unconstitutionally motivated by anti-Muslim animus.[344]

Trump's tweets were also cited by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in its ruling in Jane Doe v. Trump issuing a preliminary injunction blocking Trump's ban on service by transgender people in the military from going into effect. The court determined that Trump's sudden policy announcement on Twitter comment undermined his claim that the ban was motivated by genuine concern for military efficiency.[345][346][347] The court wrote:

"[Trump] abruptly announced, via Twitter – without any of the formality or deliberative processes that generally accompany the development and announcement of major policy changes that will gravely affect the lives of many Americans – that all transgender individuals would be precluded from participating in the military in any capacity. These circumstances provide additional support for Plaintiffs' claim that the decision to exclude transgender individuals was not driven by genuine concerns regarding military efficacy."[345][346]

Effects on the stock market

On December 22, 2016 Trump posted: ’Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!‘ [348] After this post, the stocks of Lockheed Martin dropped significantly and the stock price of Boeing increased slightly.[citation needed] Another example is the on August 17, 2017 post on Amazon: ‘Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!‘[349] Afterwards, the market capitalization of Amazon declined by $6 billion.[350] However, there are also contrary examples: The New York Times stock remained stable or even rose when Trump posted about ‘failing New York Times.’[351]

On August 19, 2020, President Trump called for a boycott for Goodyear Tires on Twitter after an image of a Goodyear employee training leaked displaying a slide showing that "Black Lives Matter" and LGBT gear are allowed to be worn, however, "Blue Lives Matter," and "MAGA" gear are not allowed to be worn. Goodyear stock fell 6% shortly after the tweet. In addition, stocks from several of Goodyear's rivals, such as Bridgestone, gained value.[352] Goodyear later released a statement stating that the Goodyear corporation did not create the slide and asked all employees to remain apolitical.[353]

Deletion of tweets

While the National Archives and Records Administration has recommended archiving all social media postings to comply with the Presidential Records Act, the Trump administration has deleted multiple public posts.[355] In June 2017, the watchdog group CREW and the National Security Archive filed suit against Trump, contending that deletion of tweets is the destruction of presidential records in violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1981.[356]

Following Alabama senator Luther Strange's loss to Justice Roy Moore in the September 2017 primary for the Senate special election, Trump deleted at least two tweets previously posted in support of Strange.[357] In November 2017, following criticism[358] from the office of the British Prime Minister regarding Trump's retweeting of several videos from far-right British nationalist group Britain First (see § Britain First videos), Trump tweeted at Twitter user @theresamay, while presumably intending to target @theresa_may; Trump later deleted the original tweet,[359] and sent a new tweet[360] targeting @theresa_may with the same content.[361]

Caution on tweets

Under its "civic integrity" policy created in 2018 and expanded in May 2020,[362][363] Twitter scrutinizes statements that may affect participation in democracy. Twitter has invited certain nonprofits to flag problematic tweets in this subject area.[364] Twitter also announced on May 11 that it would begin to flag "misleading information."[365] In November 2020, Twitter clarified that, while it may choose to merely flag the offensive tweets of "current world leaders and candidates for office," when those people leave office and become "private citizens" again, they will be treated like everyone else and their accounts can be suspended.[366]

The two tweets on May 26, 2020 that were marked as "potentially misleading" (the blue icon and text) by Twitter

Twitter placed a fact-check advisory on Trump's tweets for the first time on May 26, 2020.[367][368] That morning, in two tweets, Trump alleged that mail-in ballots would be "substantially fraudulent," resulting in a "Rigged Election."[369][370] Hours later, Twitter placed an exclamation-point icon on each of these tweets with the text "Get the facts about mail-in ballots," linking to a page that said that Trump's allegations of fraud were "unsubstantiated".[371] This type of fact-checking moderation had been introduced earlier in response to misinformation spread during the COVID-19 pandemic to help Twitter users get correct information, and was the first time Twitter staff opted to use it on Trump's tweets.[372]

In response, on May 28, Trump signed an executive order challenging the liability protections currently given to social media platforms.[373] Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, sometimes referred to as "the 26 words that created the internet," treats social media companies as "platforms" rather than "publishers" and thereby reduces their responsibility for what their users say.[374][375] Trump is attempting to increase the legal responsibility of social media companies for what their users say, thereby exposing them to lawsuits. However, it is unclear that Trump has the legal authority to make this change.[376]

Twitter marked this tweet with a "public interest notice", deeming it as "glorifying violence". [377]
Donald Trump official portrait (cropped 2).jpg
Donald J. Trump Twitter Verified Badge.svg Twitter
@realDonaldTrump

Replying to @realDonaldTrump

....These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!

May 29, 2020[378]

Protests broke out in Minneapolis and throughout the United States after the May 25 killing of George Floyd, an African-American man who died shortly after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck. Trump, in both Twitter and Facebook posts in the late evening on May 28, said he had talked to Minnesota governor Tim Walz about bringing the National Guard to help secure the city. He said the government was prepared to "assume control." "When the looting starts, the shooting starts," Trump warned, using a phrase made infamous by Miami Police Chief Walter E. Headley in 1967 that was believed to have inflamed violence in that city.[378][379][380] Twitter decided to mark the tweet with a "public interest notice" deeming it as "glorifying violence"; they acknowledged they could have removed the tweet entirely but maintained that "it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance."[377][381] Facebook opted to take no action about the equivalent post made on its platform; CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that this message and similar ones did not violate Facebook's acceptable use policies. Journalists[382] and civil rights leaders[383] criticized the company's standards, and Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout on June 1 to demand that management deal with Trump's posts.[384]

Several days later the White House Twitter account posted a series of videos falsely accusing antifa groups of placing bricks on sidewalks in order to instigate violence during the protests, including one which falsely suggested a barrier situated outside a synagogue in Sherman Oaks, California to prevent anti-Semitic attacks had been placed on the street by terrorists.[385][386][387][388] Trump also used Twitter to share a letter by his former legal advisor John M. Dowd, which described peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C. as "terrorists".[389][390][391]

A tweet posted by Trump's reelection campaign on June 5, 2020 (as well as posted to other social media sites) in the wake of the Floyd protests had included a video with several segments of Trump speaking on the tragedy of Floyd's death and other images. Twitter was forced to remove the video after it had received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown request for one of the images used in the video though it was unclear to journalists which image this was. Trump called out the action as "illegal" in a following tweet but Jack Dorsey of Twitter reiterated that they had to follow the law of the DMCA in removing the video.[392]

On June 18, 2020, Trump tweeted a falsified video with the CNN logo and the chyron caption "Terrified todler [sic] runs from racist baby; racist baby probably a Trump voter." The implication was that news organizations unfairly malign white people and conservatives. CNN had never run that caption. Twitter applied a fact-check advisory with the words "manipulated media."[393]

On June 23, 2020, Trump tweeted that protesters "will be met with serious force." Twitter applied a warning that the comment "violated the Twitter Rules about abusive behavior."[394]

On August 23, 2020, Trump tweeted that "Mail Drop Boxes...are not Covid sanitized." He claimed that the Democratic Party was "using" mailboxes despite alleged "voter security" and "fraud" problems with postal voting; he claimed that voting by mail enables "a person to vote multiple times," and he questioned "who controls" mailboxes. Twitter applied a warning that the comment violated "our Civic Integrity Policy for making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting."[395]

Twitter applied a warning to over a third of Trump's tweets made between Election Night 2020 (November 3) and his rival Joe Biden's victory speech (November 7), stating: "some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process." Twitter then said it would no longer use this election-specific flag given that the election had already been decided.[396]

Suspensions and deactivations

Trump's personal Twitter account was deactivated for eleven minutes on November 2, 2017. The official @POTUS account remained online during the period that the personal account was taken offline. The Twitter employee who deactivated the account was Bahtiyar Duysak, who deactivated the account on his last day of work before returning to his home country of Germany.[397] In a tweet the next day, Trump referred to him as a "rogue employee."[398][399] Twitter responded by adding protection to Trump's account.[400]

On January 6, 2021, Twitter locked Trump's account so that he was unable to post new tweets for 12 hours. This was a response to Trump's perceived "incitement of violence" before the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol. On Twitter's demand, Trump deleted three specific tweets he had made earlier in the day. He was warned his account would be terminated if he continued to make posts they deemed as inciting violence, or spread conspiracy theories about election integrity (false claims which were said to be fuelling the violence).[401] His account was unlocked, and he tweeted three more times from it.

Twitter deemed the content of those tweets unacceptable, and, on January 8, 2021 at 6:21pm EST, Trump was permanently banned from Twitter.[402] An hour later at 7:20 PM EST, Trump made four posts on the @POTUS Twitter account which were quickly removed. Twitter explained that it would begin limiting access to government accounts with the intent that it would soon give the @POTUS and @WhiteHouse accounts to the incoming Biden administration.[403] On January 14, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended banning Trump, but also said it "sets a precedent I feel is dangerous."[404]

In the week after several social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, Spotify, Shopify, and others) suspended President Trump's and key allies' accounts, online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent.[405]

Satire and archives

In May 2017, Trump misspelled the word "coverage" as "covfefe," which quickly turned into a meme on the Internet.

The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library, set up by The Daily Show in Manhattan in June 2017

In June 2017, the satirical news program The Daily Show and its network, Comedy Central, set up a temporary museum space on West 57th Street, next to Trump Tower in Manhattan, that was dedicated to Trump's tweets.[406][407]

In January 2019, Trump served hamburgers from McDonald's to the Clemson Tigers champion football team due to the White House's catering staff going on strike.[408] His misspelling on Twitter of hamburger as "hamberder" was ridiculed on the internet.[409] It soon became a meme as well, and was parodied on Saturday Night Live with Trump (played by Alec Baldwin) competing for "hamberders" on the Deal or No Deal game show.[410]

Reactions and analysis

Some commentators view Trump's tweets as having either the purpose or effect of distracting from issues.[411] Such tweets are sometimes described as "shiny objects" intended to divert attention from other news.[412][413] Dan Mahaffee of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress opined that Trump's tweets distracted from pressing national issues, writing that to dismiss Trump's tweets "as intemperate outbursts or merely stream-of-consciousness responses to current events would thus greatly underestimate their impact and reach" and opining that Trump's tweets elevated "the trivial at the expense of the consequential."[414] Financial Times columnist Courtney Weaver viewed Trump's Twitter attacks against NFL players kneeling during the national anthem as "weapons of mass distraction" that diverted attention from the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, and wrote that "The more time that is spent discussing the president's latest stand-off with the NFL, the less time is spent discussing the Republicans' latest failed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, and other administration shortcomings."[415] Analyst Philip Bump of The Washington Post views Trump's Tweets as attempts to distract in times of unfavorable news related to the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.[416]

A 2020 study published in Nature Communications assessed Trump's tweets in the context of agenda-setting theory, analyzing the hypothesis that Trump uses tweets strategically to divert the attention of the media and the public from issues and topics he considers to be potentially threatening or harmful to him.[417] The research found that increased media coverage of Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Mueller investigation was "immediately followed by Trump tweeting increasingly about unrelated issues" which led to "a reduction in coverage of the Mueller investigation"; this provides support for the diversionary hypothesis.[417] The research found that this pattern was "absent in placebo analyses involving Brexit coverage and several other topics that do not present a political risk to the president" and that the finding was "robust to the inclusion of numerous control variables and examination of several alternative explanations, although the generality of the successful diversion must be established by further investigation."[417]

Essayist Frank Rich of New York magazine argues that Trump's tweets are not purely distractions, but rather (1) are frequently news in themselves; (2) indicate a heightened instability within Trump administration; and (3) are not aimed at news consumers, but rather "are intended to rally his base" of supporters.[418]

SuspendThePres, also known as Will They Suspend Me?, is a Twitter account created by Bizzare Lazar.[419][420] The account re-tweets everything Donald Trump, the President of the United States, tweets. The account has been suspended and flagged multiple times. There is also a SuspendThePres account on Facebook.[421] The Twitter account was created back in 2015, but started posting on May 29, 2020, and has been active ever since.[422][423] The Facebook account was created on June 4.[424] Less than three days after the Twitter account started, it was suspended for 12 hours.[425][426] The account was suspended a second time for another 12 hours. One of the posts on the Facebook account was censored, but was restored later on.[427][428]

Permanent suspension

On January 8, 2021, at 23:21 UTC, Twitter announced that they had permanently suspended Donald Trump due to the threat of further incitement of violence.[21][430] The suspension caused Trump to lose over 88 million followers.[22] Twitter's decision came after his account had been locked for 12 hour intervals twice and after he had had three of his tweets removed for their roles in inciting violence during the storming of the U.S. Capitol.[431] In his final tweet before the permanent ban, Trump announced that he would not attend the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20, 2021.[432]

At the time the suspension became effective, Trump was expected to retain control of the official account of the US presidency (@POTUS) through his office until the inauguration.[433] Trump then tried to circumvent this suspension by briefly making a series of tweets on @POTUS, but the posts were deleted within minutes of them being tweeted.[434] Trump also tried to circumvent the suspension by posting a statement on his official campaign Twitter account @TeamTrump, in which he complained about Twitter's suspension and accused the social media platform, without evidence, of colluding in a conspiracy with the Democratic Party and "the Radical Left" to get him banned, while repeating the rhetoric that first got him banned from his main Twitter account.[22][435] This account was also suspended after the statement from Trump was posted.[22][435]

On January 20, 2021, sightly before 12 PM, the @POTUS Twitter account was transferred over to Biden as planned and the follower count of @POTUS was reset.[436]

Other social media platforms

Facebook

During his 2016 campaign, Trump posted a number of ads on his Facebook page attacking Hillary Clinton. The ads included parodies of Pokémon Go[437] and Ms. Pac-Man,[438] portraying Hillary Clinton as a Pokémon and as Ms. Pac-Man. Trump was charged less per ad than Clinton was, Wired claimed,[439] but Facebook countered that Trump had been charged more.[440]

Trump also used the platform to issue an apology for the Access Hollywood tape.[441] As president, he was criticized for posting a news story about a purported Kuwaiti travel ban similar to Executive Order 13769;[442] Kuwait's foreign minister confirmed that no such ban existed.[443]

In 2017, Facebook briefed the House and Senate committees in their investigations of Russian interference in the U.S. election. At the hearings, Facebook revealed that accounts linked to the Russian government had bought approximately $100,000 of Facebook advertisements during the election campaign.[444] In response, Trump criticized Facebook in a series of tweets on September 27, 2017. "Facebook was always anti-Trump," he said, simultaneously extending the same criticism to "the Networks," The New York Times, and The Washington Post.[445] Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a statement to Facebook: "Trump says Facebook is against him. Liberals say we helped Trump. Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don't like. That's what running a platform for all ideas looks like."[446][447]

A large Facebook group called "Stop the Steal" was dedicated to the idea that the November 2020 election was "stolen" from Trump by some type of fraud. Two days after the election, Facebook banned the group and its hashtags.[448]

On January 6, 2021, amid a riot at the Capitol while Congress was counting the electoral votes, Trump posted a short video to social media. Facebook removed it. Facebook’s vice president of integrity, Guy Rosen, explained that the video “contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.” (YouTube also removed the same video. Twitter at first disabled comments; later, the Tweet was deleted.)[449] That day, Facebook also blocked Trump's ability to post new content; the next day, Facebook said the block would remain at least until the end of Trump's term on January 20.[450]

Instagram

Trump initially used his personal account on Instagram (@realDonaldTrump) primarily to share personal pictures, including images of himself with his grandchildren.[451][452] In September 2015 – then with approximately 377 thousand followers – [451] he used the platform to release a political advertisement. This ad, "Act of Love", attacked primary opponent Jeb Bush on the topic of immigration. Along with Bush's responses, it demonstrated that Instagram could be a political tool rather than merely a personal photo-sharing application.[451] Trump also used the platform to contribute to the controversy regarding the 2016 film Ghostbusters by posting a video criticizing the all-female cast. In response, director Paul Feig claimed that "Trump supporters" were responsible for some of the "internet hate" directed at the film.[453]

When Trump became president, his personal account had grown to over 5 million followers.[452] He also assumed control of an official account (@whitehouse), where he posted pictures from his inauguration.[452] At that time, it was expected that the official account would primarily feature the work of the Chief Official White House Photographer once one was selected;[452] however, Shealah Craighead has contributed relatively little, especially in comparison to Pete Souza's work during the Obama administration.[454]

On January 6, 2021, Facebook (which owns Instagram) blocked Trump's ability to post new content to Instagram; the next day, the company said the block would remain at least until the end of Trump's term on January 20.[450]

Reddit

On July 27, 2016, Trump took part in an Ask Me Anything (AMA), where he responded to user-submitted questions from Reddit's /r/The Donald community. He offered replies on topics that varied from media bias and voter fraud to NASA, including a question about H-1B visas posed by alt-right[455] media personality Milo Yiannopoulos.[456][457] Trump also posted several pre-debate messages on the subreddit.[458][459]

YouTube

From 2011 until 2013 or 2014, Trump created over 80 installments of a vlog on YouTube called "From the Desk of Donald Trump".[c] In it, he discussed a variety of topics, ranging from serious issues such as the Libyan Civil War, Obamacare, and the American job market to less weighty matters, including the Vanity Fair Oscar party and his dislike of Mike McGlone's Rhetorical Questions advertisements for GEICO.[460][461] In several installments, he speculated on a possible presidential candidacy in 2012 that never came to pass,[460] but many of the themes featured in the vlog were part of his successful campaign in 2016.[461] By June 2017, most of these videos were no longer available on YouTube under Trump's account.[462][better source needed]

Trump's YouTube account was suspended for policy violations for at least seven days on January 13, 2021; for this period it was no longer possible for new videos to be uploaded to the site.[463]

Snapchat

On June 3, 2020, Snapchat announced that it would no longer promote Trump's account on its "Discover" page, which curates stories from celebrities and politicians. This followed the President's sharing of his controversial June 1 photo outside St. John's Church (to which he had walked after peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square were tear gassed to make way for him). He had also shared screenshots of several tweets.[464] Three days earlier, co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel had sent a company memo stating that "we simply cannot promote accounts in America that are linked to people who incite racial violence, whether they do so on or off our platform."[465]

On January 6, 2021, following the riot at the United States Capitol, Snapchat locked Trump's account.[466] The company announced on January 13, 2021 that it would keep his account blocked permanently.[467]

Twitch

Trump has a Twitch account used primarily to broadcast his rallies. On June 29, 2020, his account was temporarily banned. Twitch stated the ban was made because of violations in their rules against hate speech. They pointed out an incident in 2016 where Trump made comments about rapists, drug dealers, and criminals coming to America from Mexico and an incident in his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2020 where he told a fictional story of a "tough hombre" breaking into someone's home as proof of these violations.[468][469][470] This ban was lifted 2 weeks later.

On January 7, 2021, Trump's Twitch account was disabled indefinitely. This was done in response to Trump's alleged incitement of the storming of the United States Capitol. While his profile and archived videos are still viewable, he will not be able to stream as long as his account is disabled.[471]

Triller

In August 2020, Trump joined Triller and was immediately verified and promoted on the app.[472][473] His action was interpreted by many as a move against TikTok, a Chinese competitor of Triller's.[474][472] Trump had previously threatened to ban TikTok.[475][476]

Parler

Parler, a social media platform that launched in 2018, attracted supporters of Donald Trump from its beginning. The Trump campaign has a Parler account, although Trump himself does not have a personal account as of early January 2021.[477] Other Parler users include Trump's former campaign director Brad Parscale; Trump's son, Eric Trump; Senator Ted Cruz; and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.[478] After Facebook banned the "Stop the Steal" group several days after the November 2020 election,[479] many of those people moved to Parler.[480] There had been speculation that Donald Trump might move to Parler, although the platform remained relatively small compared to the Twitter platform he was accustomed to.[481]

Within four days after the January 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol, Google and Apple stopped distributing the Parler app and Amazon stopped hosting it; the latter was a sudden decision with only 24-hour notice given to Parler, causing it to go entirely offline when the hosting was dropped. All three tech giants said they objected to violent content that was spreading on Parler. Google said that "we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content"; Apple similarly complained of "direct threats of violence and calls to incite lawless action" on the Parler platform; Amazon noted "a steady increase in this violent content."[482][483][484] Smaller companies, too, simultaneously dropped their relationships with Parler. Parler CEO John Matze said: "Every vendor from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too on the same day."[483]

On the Chinese internet

Historically in Chinese publications Trump was known as Chuānpǔ (Chinese: 川普), based on the pronunciation of his surname, while recent official publications use Tèlǎngpǔ (特朗普). Users on the Chinese internet refer to Trump as Chuānpǔ, instead of Tèlǎngpǔ, and/or various parody nicknames. Ji Siqi of the South China Morning Post wrote that the informal use is because Chuānpǔ "just has two characters so it’s easier to say or type."[485]

Trump's assertion of his understanding of COVID-19 resulted in the nickname Dǒng Wáng (Chinese: 懂王; pinyin: Dǒng Wáng; lit. 'king of knowledge'). A perception that Trump is harming the United States to the benefit of China gave him the nickname Chuān Jiànguó (川建国; 川建國) meaning "Trump Building Country" with the country being China. Additionally he is known as Chuān Bǎo (川宝; 川寳; 'Trump the Baby'), which Ji Siqi compared to the insult "Orange Baby".[485] Another nickname referring to the Chinese perception of Trump being an authoritarian, which Ji Siqi states "contradicts American democracy as perceived by Chinese people", is Chuān Huáng (川皇; 'Trump the Emperor'), and Dà Tǒnglǐng (大统领; 大統領; 'Great Commander').[485] The perception of Trump being, in Ji Siqi's words, "an avaricious businessman running [the United States as] a company" resulted in the name Chuān Zǒng (川总; 川總; 'Trump the Boss').[485] The, in Ji Siqi's words, "very frequent flip-flops", resulted in Tè Méipǔ (特没谱) with "mei" being "no"; therefore the literal meaning of "Te Meipu" is "very capricious".[485]

See also

Copyright