The 45th president has already made history for having the twitchiest Twitter fingers. Whether it’s the words of famous movie stars at an award show, satirical comedy shows, or a major luxury retailer pulling his daughter’s shoes and handbags because of failing sales, Trump doesn’t mind breaking up his tirades into bite-sized, 140-character capsules of emotion.
So what are the odds of getting Trump to respond on Twitter? What issues really get him going, and who are the people he’s most ready to call out? We looked at more than 30,000 tweets, retweets, and quotes from Twitter’s biggest user at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW to see what triggers the MAGA-man. Keep reading to see what we found.
You Won’t Like Him When He’s Angry
President Trump has no chill setting – at least not anymore. Since Q3 of 2016, which would have been July through August, his negative tweets were primarily against newspaper giant, The New York Times.
Trump’s assault on the NYT – branded by the president as “fake news” – accounted for over 6% of the mentions he included in his tweets during this time. This increased to over 11% by the end of 2016, and he kept this up in the beginning of 2017.
The New York Times, along with several other news publications, has been branded by the White House and the Trump administration as the “enemy of the people.”
Cable news provider CNN has also been singled out by Trump as another member of the #fakenews alliance, as almost 20% of tweet mentions from early 2017 were about the organization. This also coincides with their critical coverage of his travel ban.
If you want attention from Trump, you’ll have better luck if you’re a member of the media or are reporting on his policy issues.
It’s an easy bet to make: Trump tweeting about Obama! He may even seem a bit obsessed, considering he mentioned President Barack Obama over 1,000 times from 2011 to 2017. Whether it was to discredit the president’s birth certificate or to say America wouldn’t see another African-American president for generations, he hasn’t been the kindest to his predecessor in his social media posts.
Perhaps he’s just envious of Obama’s approval rating – 59% when leaving office. Trump has yet to crest above 45%, however, and dipped as low as 35% in his first 100 days. Trump also targeted the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, with over 350 tweets.
Beyond Obama, Trump was most obsessed with mentioning himself. There were almost 850 tweets that referred to Trump in some capacity. Other tweets involved Trump rallies and news stories that complimented his policies, such as the travel ban.
Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” dominated the most commonly used paired words in his tweets. In fact, they made a clean sweep of the top three most common word combinations. The three couplings – “great, America”; “great, again”; and “America, again” appeared in over 1,000 tweets.
Crooked Hillary Clinton is spending a fortune on ads against me. I am the one person she doesn't want to run against. Will be such fun!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2016
In April 2016, Trump concocted his sixth most popular word pairing, “Crooked Hillary.” He also had nicknames for several members of the Republican party: Lyin’ Ted for Ted Cruz, Little Marco for Marco Rubio, and Low Energy Jeb for Jeb Bush. However, Clinton’s nickname stuck all throughout her campaign.
Don’t be surprised if you see “Make America Great Again” mentioned by the president in his tweets. He shortened it to a hashtag #MAGA. It would be unwise to bet against him retiring this slogan anytime soon.
The Twitter accounts targeted by Trump’s most negative comments tend to be users who are political adversaries, media organizations, or members of the press. In fact, the three accounts he was the most negative toward – @pressjournal, @vanityfair, @huffingtonpost – were all media outlets. Eight of the 20 most negative mentions were lobbied at media organizations accounts, ranking from @nydailynews to @nbcnews.
Users who received the most positive mentions tended to be family members, celebrities, or real estate holdings. Yes, out of the top 20 users he mentioned most positively, six were various Trump brands: @trumpwaikiki, @trumpturnberry, @trumpgolfla, @trump_charlotte, @trumplasvegas, and @trumpcollection.
If you’re a member of the media or a publication tweeting at Trump, there are some decent odds he might respond back. But he won’t be speaking to you with the same affection he has for his family and golf courses.
Trump’s Twitter Ego
Possibly influenced by the campaign – against all the odds to become both the Republican nominee and president of the United States – the most commonly mentioned users in Trump’s tweets were other politicians. Nearly 3,500 tweets referenced at least one other politician, positively or negatively.
Next was news and media coverage. Trump hasn’t shied away from criticizing reporters or their organization of employment, especially if he disagrees with the veracity of their reporting.
When it came to retweets and quotes, only one thing was in the spotlight. Trump quoted over 5,500 tweets and retweeted more than 500 tweets about himself. These usually tended to be articles or outlets that painted him and his governance more positively.
Trump’s Kids Get All the Love
Congratulations Eric & Lara. Very proud and happy for the two of you! https://t.co/s0T3cTQc40- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2017
When it comes to receiving positive sentiment from Trump on Twitter, you’ll want to be a member of his family. The tweets mentioning his family were the most likely to carry a positive sentiment, followed by tweets mentioning the U.S. and women’s rights. Positive tweet-vibes have been used by the president when congratulating his son and daughter-in-law on revealing the sex of their future child and around his daughter Ivanka.
I am so proud of my daughter Ivanka. To be abused and treated so badly by the media, and to still hold her head so high, is truly wonderful!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2017
Russia, a topic Trump can’t seem to shake off, had the most negative sentiment, along with terrorists and The Middle East. Still, these sentiments were fairly neutral, followed up by immigration and – you guessed it – Hillary Clinton.
Just watched the totally biased and fake news reports of the so-called Russia story on NBC and ABC. Such dishonesty!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2017
This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign.- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
If you want some real emotion from Trump, it’s worth being a member of his family. However, the odds are against you to rile him up about Russia – he just might link you to a news article instead.
Ready, Set, Tweet
If you're seeking praise from the president, it's best to be a part of the family – either his actual blood or one of his real estate properties. He most frequently (and favorably) engages with these while mentioning other Twitter users.
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We scraped over 30,000 tweets, retweets, and quotes from Donald Trump on Twitter to better understand what triggers him to tweet. Sentiment was analyzed by looking at the polarity ranking of each word and whether that word was positive (1), negative (-1), or neutral (0). All the words were then averaged together to get an overall sentiment score.
Subjectivity was scored on a scale of 0 to 1, where the closer to 1 the score was, the more subjective the text that was analyzed, while closer to 0 was considered objective. Text that skewed either positive or negative tended to be more subjective, while text that was considered more neutral tended to be more objective.
To categorize the tweets, we analyzed users mentioned in each tweet, ran a text analysis, and removed stop words to find the most common words and word pairings, and categorized the main topic as being about one of the following:
Women, United States, Trump Family Member, Terrorists, Russia, Presidential Election, Other Politicians, Other Policies, Other Country, Other - None of the Above, The Middle East, Mexico, Member of the Media, Media Coverage, LGBT Issues, Immigration, Immigrants, Hillary Clinton, Health Care, Foreign Policy, Fake News, Donald Trump, China, Canada, Barack Obama, A Specific State, A Specific City
Fair Use Statement
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