During his first year in office, President Donald Trump used Twitter to denounce “haters,” announce policy, admonish aides, and, more often than not, set the narrative for the day’s news coverage.
There was frequent mention of “fake news” and “@foxandfriends,” some spread of misinformation and posts rife with ALL CAPS, exclamation points and alliterated nicknames for critics.
The @realDonaldTrump account gave observers a window into the mind of a president in a way never seen before. Trump has 46 million followers on the social media platform.
“My use of social media is not Presidential — it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL,” he posted in July.
My use of social media is not Presidential - it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2017
Last month, he explained — in a tweet — that he doesn’t prefer to communicate via Twitter, but does so “because it is the only way to fight a VERY dishonest and unfair 'press.'”
I use Social Media not because I like to, but because it is the only way to fight a VERY dishonest and unfair “press,” now often referred to as Fake News Media. Phony and non-existent “sources” are being used more often than ever. Many stories & reports a pure fiction!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2017
"Twitter is going to go down as one of the defining characteristics of this presidency," said Adam Sharp, the former head of news and politics at Twitter, comparing it to how television is associated with John F. Kennedy, radio is associated with Franklin D. Roosevelt and how William McKinley engaged Americans with his “front-porch campaign” of 1896.
It’s a means of scaling retail politics to a national audience, Sharp said.
Here are some of the most impactful Trump tweets of his first year:
Feb. 17, 2017:
Perhaps the most pointed of many posts condemning the free press.
March 4, 2017:
Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
An accusation levied at former President Barack Obama. The Department of Justice never found evidence of wiretapping of Trump Tower.
May 12, 2017:
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
The former FBI director in a memo and in Senate testimony said Trump had asked him about “letting Flynn go” — or abandoning a probe into the former national security adviser.
Congressional investigators asked for the recordings and Trump tweeted on June 22, “I have no idea whether there are 'tapes' or recordings.”
...whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017
Early on May 31, 2017:
Trump tweeted: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”
Then, later on May 31, 2017:
Who can figure out the true meaning of "covfefe" ??? Enjoy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
The typo spawned countless jokes across media platforms and though Trump appeared to find humor in it, then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not, telling reporters, “The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.”
July 2, 2017:
The president’s most retweeted post of 2017, according to NPR.
July 25, 2017:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017
One of several criticisms at the time of Sessions, who had recused himself from Russia-related investigations to Trump’s ire. It sparked speculation that Sessions would be ousted, but he remains in the Cabinet.
Sept. 30, 2017:
...Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
...want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
Criticism of Carmen Yulín Cruz, who said the federal government was dragging its feet in aiding the island suffering in the wake of Hurricane Maria. It also viewed as criticism of Puerto Ricans as not able to help themselves.
Oct. 1, 2017:
I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017
Seen as a dig at the secretary of state’s diplomatic approach to dealing with North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Doubled as a knock on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Oct. 10, 2017:
Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
One of several days’ worth of tweets condemning NFL players taking a knee in protest of police brutality and racial injustice and arguing that they insult the sacrifice of uniformed service members.
Nov. 11, 2017:
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
One of many personal insults lobbed at Kim.
Nov. 19, 2017:
Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
Aimed at the father of a UCLA basketball player, who Trump said he helped to free during his trip to China.
Dec. 12, 2017:
Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017
Gillibrand had called for Trump’s resignation over allegations of sexual assault. She called the tweet a “sexist smear.”
Jan. 2, 2018:
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
This one-upsmanship inspired news stories about how the president doesn’t have a physical button to launch nukes.
Jan. 6, 2018:
....Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018
....to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius....and a very stable genius at that!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018
Response to coverage of “Fire and Fury,” a book by Michael Wolff which paints the president as ill-suited psychologically to govern and unwilling to read or learn complicated policy.
Trump’s tweeting, throughout the year, had been described as a distraction to the work that Republicans needed to tackle, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, buoyed by the year-end passage of sweeping tax legislation, appeared to acknowledge that Trump and Twitter were a package deal.
Last February, the Kentucky Republican said, “I’ve been pretty candid with him and all of you that I’m not a fan of the daily tweets.”
Then late last month, he said, “I’m warming up to the tweets.”