Data Science Shows Exactly How Long Trump Can Stay Scripted And Presidential

data science says Trump can only stay presidential so long
Trump seems to have burst out of a period of Twitter silence directly into a Twitter tantrum.

Using a little data science and the database of tweets at the DidTrumpTweetIt archive, it appears that Trump was suspiciously quiet on twitter for three to four days. Perhaps he was in twitter jail, or his handlers somehow managed to keep him quiet that long. Regardless, he broke out last night with an incoherent rant, showing just how hard it is for him to keep quiet, and exactly how long he can stay composed and “presidential.”

Trump’s history of tweets since he took office.

About six months ago, a few bloggers used data science to analyze the text coming from @realDonaldTrump, concluding that are at least two different authors producing its content. The website has archived all of Trump’s 30,000+ tweets and has tagged those that he wrote, versus his staffers, to help disentangle the messaging coming from the @realDonaldTrump account.

With a few snippets of Python code, we grabbed everything Trump wrote since the inauguration and did a little analysis of our own. No heavy data science, just some simple counting. Since he took office, Trump’s own fingers tapped out about 158 posts on the @realDonaldTrump account. That’s about 4 per day. Most of those come before 9 AM or after 7 PM, by the way.

The plot below shows how many he has made each day since he took office.

Trump's tweets versus time

While Trump has had some dry days, it is clear that he’s been having longer periods of quiet since Feb 18th. And the days between Feb 26 and March 2 were an extended period of unusual calm. Let’s look deeper into that period.

February 26th to March 2nd, 2017

In the early morning hours of Feb 26th, Trump posted his typical rants about “fake news” and the “failing” New York Times. Then he took the unusual step of posting after lunch from both his own account, and the official @POTUS twitter feed.

That seems to be when he went quiet and benign.  A few hours later he announced he was having a big dinner with Governors. He didn’t pen another until very late on Feb 27th, announcing he would be interviewed on Fox & Friends the next morning. Nothing on Feb 28th. His only one the next day was a two-line “Thank You!” in the morning (presumably referring to the public response to his speech to the joint session of Congress the previous night).

Early yesterday (March 2nd), he started out the day with this piece of news (although how he relates this to “jobs” is completely beyond us).

Using natural-language processing (a form of data science that evaluates written text), has also tagged the emotional sentiment of each tweet. During this period of calm, what he wrote was all very nice in tone, rating around 40%-50% positive on their sentiment scale.

And then it seems he blew his stack, launching into a four-post tirade starting at 9:22 PM defending Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the news broke that he lied to Congress about meetings with Russia’s U.S. ambassador:

By the way, you see that it took him 16 minutes to write those four tweets?

Those were followed this morning with an early morning complaint that “It is so pathetic that the Dems have still not approved my full Cabinet.”

By our count, Trump’s sentiment has been averaging 12% negative since he took office. The tweets starting in the evening of March 2 have had much more negative sentiment. That rant about Jeff Sessions scores about 20% negative, and his comment about the cabinet rates 80% negative. In other words, Trump is back to business as usual.

As an aside, Trump is completely full of hot air over his insistence that Democrats should be ashamed about how long it is taking to confirm his cabinet. As shown by the Washington Post, his cabinet nominations are actually moving faster than most of the previous administrations.

What might have caused this Twitter calm?

Going back to that one on Feb 26th, Trump had been both tweeting and talking for weeks about how everything that he didn’t like was the result of Democrats complaining about their election loss. That was his answer to questions about rising anti-Semitism and Iran’s nuclear program during his joint press conference with Israel’s prime minister, for example.

According to a search in the DidTrumpTweetIt archive, the term “fake news” shows up 33 times in his Trump’s twitter feed. That is more than two of every 10 of his posts. “Leaks” shows up 22 times. We’ve lost count of how many times he has brought up the Democratic election loss in press conferences and statements.  So maybe his senior staff clamped down and told him to put a lid on it?

It’s not data science. Trump only stayed scripted and composed for three days.

A lot of attention is being paid to how surprisingly composed and “presidential” he appeared during his speech to Congress on. So perhaps his senior staff put Trump in “twitter jail” in anticipation of playing and keeping up that message?

Well, as the last few days have shown us, he seems to only be able to stay “presidential” for about 3 days before the twitter tantrums start flying. And the incoherence and inanity of the rant that broke his silence intimates that he didn’t just take back his phone, but he had been boiling over for days.

So there you have it, our President and Commander-in-Chief can keep his composure and stay scripted for about 3 days. As he is so fond of saying at the end of all his tweets, “so sad!”

Featured image via screen capture, altered

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