Here are 17 tweets that (begin to) tell the story of the White House in 2017.
1. “If something happens blame him …”
2. “… enemy of the American people…”
Trump vilified the press throughout the campaign and carried on, undeterred, into the White House. Still, this tweet marked a jarring escalation between his administration and those who cover it.
3. “… Obama had my ‘wires tapped’…”
4. “We must fight them …”
Relations are cuddlier today, with Republicans in the House and Senate delivering a tax bill to Trump before the holidays, but the failed effort to repeal Obamacare exposed rifts in the party — and set off a series of Twitter tantrums. Trump has repeatedly excoriated GOP lawmakers, in public, over their opposition to his agenda.
5. “James Comey better hope …”
6. “… the single greatest witch hunt …”
It read: “As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”
Then morning came — and with it, the tweets.
7. “…from a face-lift.”
Trump has directed many of his nastiest Twitter attacks at high-profile women. In particular, those who might speak ill of him on television. On a Thursday morning in late June, he set his sights on “Morning Joe” co-anchor Mika Brzezinski, who along with co-host Joe Scarborough had abandoned their once chummy relationship with Trump as the 2016 campaign ramped up.
8. “… our beleaguered A.G …”
9. “After consultation with my Generals and military experts …”
He continued: “…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
In a flurry of morning tweets, Trump in late July announced plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals serving “in any capacity” in the US armed forces. Federal judges have since blocked subsequent action and the Pentagon plans on enlisting transgender recruits in 2018. But the ad hoc declaration stirred up a mostly dormant culture war surrounding LGBT service at a time when top military officials seemed content with opening up the ranks.
10. “… I have just granted a full Pardon …”
On Friday night, August 25, as Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, Trump tweeted out news of his controversial decision, which spared the convicted former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff any potential jail time. Arpaio had been a vocal Trump backer during the campaign. The pardon, a sopping red meat gift to Trump’s base, arrived before Arpaio’s scheduled sentencing, setting off anger among immigrant advocates and legal professionals.
“Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for continuing to illegally profile Latinos living in Arizona based on their perceived immigration status in violation of a judge’s orders,” McCain said. “The President has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”
11.”Fire or suspend!”
12. “… want everything to be done for them …”
As the situation in Puerto Rico deteriorated after Hurricane Maria swept through in late September, Trump turned on island officials who questioned the federal government’s response. He was particularly pointed with Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan. As she pleaded for more aid amid the devastation, Trump accused her of trying to score political points — and suggested that the Puerto Rican people were in part to blame for the stalled rescue and recovery operations.
13. “… what I said to the wife of a soldier …”
Trump in October came under scrutiny for some clumsy word choices in his call to the widow of an American soldier killed in Niger. The particulars were relayed to the press by Democratic Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson. Trump duly assailed the congresswoman, a family friend who’d listened in on the conversation, on Twitter, calling her a liar and claiming to have evidence contradicting her account.
14. “… they just gave me a standing O!”
Trump exchanged barbs with fellow Republicans throughout the year, but his fight with Flake was the most instructive. Where he’s sought to make nice with others, Trump sensed a weak opponent in the now lame duck Arizona lawmaker — who would later vote in favor of the President’s tax package — and promptly rolled him.
15. “Video: Muslim migrant…”
RT @JaydaBF: VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!
16. “Big stuff. Deep State.”
Mueller’s job appears safe for now, but that doesn’t mean Trump isn’t pushing back more broadly against the probe. In messages like this one, breathless and near inscrutable, we see him parrot a Fox News report, or some part of it, in an effort to discredit investigators.
17. “Don’t let the Fake News convince you otherwise …”
A fitting coda. With Republicans passing their tax cuts right before leaving town for the year, Trump declared victory — then duly took one more jab at the press and polls showing his dismal approval ratings.