Trump’s Twitter Frenzy Is Packing Less of a Punch

His accelerating activity has become less novel to his followers.

On Thursday alone, President Trump dispatched over a half-dozen tweets attacking various aspects of the Russia investigation in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s first public statement the previous day. If it feels like President Trump’s Twitter finger has been itchier than usual of late, that’s because it has been. Having dispatched more than 42,000 tweets in the past decade, Mr. Trump has consistently been a prolific user of the social media site, but never so much as in recent months.

In his first six months in office, Mr. Trump averaged nearly six tweets a day, a lot of activity for a guy just starting into the most important job in the world. But that rate has escalated sharply since then. In the most recent half year, he averaged nearly 13 tweets and retweets a day. And in May, he has hit new highs — 671 tweets and retweets so far this month, for an average of more than 22 each day.

But as his daily tweet count has climbed, the impact of each tweet has fallen, according to calculations by Axios. At the time of his election in 2016, a Trump tweet was interacted with (meaning a retweet or a like) about 0.55 percent of the time. As the frequency of Mr. Trump’s tweets increased and the novelty of them declined, so did the response rate — down to 0.16 percent most recently. (Note that the total number of interactions with each of Mr. Trump’s tweets has increased but because his user count has risen dramatically — to 60.7 million at present — the rate of responses to Mr. Trump’s tweets has still dropped.)

Part of the recent escalation in Mr. Trump’s Twitter activity is due to the unveiling of the Mueller report. In just the roughly two months since Attorney General William Barr’s release of his summary of the report, Mr. Trump used the words “no collusion” or “no obstruction” in a tweet 62 times, approximately once a day. By comparison, in the entire previous year, he used the terms only 56 times.

But the Russia “hoax” has not been Mr. Trump’s top overall topic; that honor goes to “fake news.” Fun fact: The top tweet of Mr. Trump’s presidency was the pro wrestling video of him taking down a man with a CNN logo for a head. (930,531 interactions.)

 

 

 

 

Trump Tweets, and Then Retracts, Statement That Russia Helped Him Get Elected

WASHINGTON — President Trump tweeted on Thursday that Russia helped “me to get elected,” and then quickly retracted the idea.

“No, Russia did not help me get elected,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for Colorado Springs. “I got me elected.” He spoke less than an hour after his Twitter post.

The original comment, a clause in one of several Twitter posts this morning, is an extraordinary admission from Mr. Trump, who has avoided saying publicly that Russia helped him win the presidency in 2016 through its election interference. American intelligence agencies and federal prosecutors have long concluded that Russia tried to influence voters.

WASHINGTON — President Trump tweeted on Thursday that Russia helped “me to get elected,” and then quickly retracted the idea.

“No, Russia did not help me get elected,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for Colorado Springs. “I got me elected.” He spoke less than an hour after his Twitter post.

The original comment, a clause in one of several Twitter posts this morning, is an extraordinary admission from Mr. Trump, who has avoided saying publicly that Russia helped him win the presidency in 2016 through its election interference. American intelligence agencies and federal prosecutors have long concluded that Russia tried to influence voters.

China Hardens Trade Stance as Talks Enter New Phase

Chinese negotiators emboldened by perception U.S. was willing to compromise

The hardened battle lines were prompted by Beijing’s decision to take a more aggressive stance in negotiations, according to the people following the talks. They said Beijing was emboldened by the perception that the U.S. was ready to compromise.

  1. In particular, these people said, Mr. Trump’s hectoring of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to cut interest rates was seen in Beijing as evidence that the president thought the U.S. economy was more fragile than he claimed.
  2. Beijing was further encouraged by Mr. Trump’s frequent claim of friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping and by Mr. Trump’s praise for Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for pledging to buy more U.S. soybeans.

An April 30 tweet, in which Mr. Trump coupled criticism of Mr. Powell with praise of Chinese economic policy, especially caught the eye of senior officials. “China is adding great stimulus to its economy while at the same time keeping interest rates low,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Our Federal Reserve has incessantly lifted interest rates.”

Why would you be constantly asking the Fed to lower rates if your economy is not turning weak,” said Mei Xinyu, an analyst at a think tank affiliated with China’s Commerce Ministry. If the U.S.’s resolve was weakening, the thinking in Beijing went, the U.S. would be more willing to cut a deal, even if Beijing hardened its positions.

That assessment, however, flies in the face of a strong U.S. economy. Gross domestic product in the first quarter rebounded from the end of 2018, with growth clocking in at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 3.2%, up from 2.2% the prior quarter. The jobs report for April, released on Friday, showed the unemployment rate falling to 3.6%, the lowest in nearly 50 years.

But at the same time, China’s economy has stabilized this year following months of weakness. Although China’s exports dropped unexpectedly in April, its first-quarter growth came in at 6.4%, beating market expectations. The generally improving economic picture gave Beijing more confidence in trade talks, as did a recent conference on the country’s vast infrastructure-spending program, called the Belt and Road Initiative, which was attended by about 40 heads of government and state.

Chinese leaders saw the conference turnout “as China has more leverage to improve relations with other countries and with the U.S. business community,” said Brookings Institution China specialist Cheng Li. “It made them play hardball.”

If China misread the signals—and vice versa—it wouldn’t be the first time.

The history of U.S.-China trade negotiations is filled with misunderstandings, as the two nations, with very different political systems, struggle to figure out each other’s intentions.

.. In another apparent sign of mixed signals, Trump administration officials had thought they had made it clear that they were weary of negotiations and that it was time for Beijing to make specific commitments to change laws, including adding protections for intellectual property and barring the forced transfer of U.S. technology.

As talks resume Thursday, one big question mark is whether China will agree to U.S. demands for changes in Chinese law to implement the trade deal. Beijing maintains this would impinge on Chinese sovereignty and take too long to implement, but Beijing had made similar commitments in prior trade deals, including those it signed to join the WTO in 2001.

U.S. officials say Beijing has failed to make good on those commitments, while China has promised to further liberalize its economy.

“The U.S. is correct to seek a multiprong approach of not relying solely on commitments but also actually changes to the laws, so as to ensure Chinese leadership intentions are fully conveyed down to all local levels of government,” said Harvard Law Professor Mark Wu.

Trump unleashes on the media in morning tweetstorm

President Donald Trump went on a tear on Twitter on Tuesday morning, demanding an apology from The New York Times, complaining he doesn’t get enough credit for the economy, claiming Twitter discriminates against him and ripping into the “Radical Left Democrats.”

It was a dizzying burst from Trump, who has bounced from claiming victory after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to seeking revenge on the media, Democrats and even his own aides.