The President-Elect’s Tweets

21 Nov

Donald Trump’s Twitter account describes its holder as President-elect of the United States; so the reports, then, must be true. The deed has been done, the unthinkable has been thought, the reality checks have been written and distributed to the disbelieving. Or is it all another case of fake news?

Call me the naïf – but on the assumption that it really did happen, it next occurred to me that a reeling nation might be restored to equilibrium by taking yet another look at the latest tweets streaming from the curious mind of the chief-executive-in-waiting.

And so it was back to the web site of record, and its burgeoning trove of planetary tweets, for yet another audit of Mr. Trump’s now-presidential ruminations. My spreadsheet haul comprises the victor’s last 3019 tweets as of the afternoon of November 21, dating back to February 19 and moving me to build a first pivot table breaking out his tweet total by month (note that those 3019 exclude replies and retweets, possibly a procedural error on my part). I get:


We’ll note the quicksilver wax-wane of the October and November tweet totals (remembering that the latter sum counts about two-thirds of the month’s transmissions), both numbers perhaps a correlate of both pre-election frenzy and Mr. Trump’s current preoccupation with other things. Since (and including) the November 8 election day, 51 tweets (appear to) have issued from the @realDonaldTrump signature, these continuing to exhibit the curious, perhaps even trademark ebullience of its eponymous subscriber. There shall be no Marlowe-Shakespeare authorial controversies here; the prose is surely Trump’s – even as his book’s contents may have other claimants. (And by the way – if you can’t get enough of our fearless leader’s literary output, visit the compendious Trump Twitter Archive, a repository of just about every tweet ever fired off by the commander in chief.)

So what is there to be learned about November’s 127? I once again ran these tweets through a battery of key-word searches as per previous Trump posts and via the same COUNTIF routine (sorting the tweets in latest-to-oldest order rows 7 through 133 will offer up the relevant range to be counted, and will spare you from all array formula concerns). I then subjected the 597 October 1-and-beyond tweets to the same searches, with these joint results, sorted in order of the November tweet key-word appearances:


I did say something about ebullience; and with nearly two-thirds of the November tweets studded with decisive exclamations I think I’m on to something there. And with his flurry of thank yous the ever-courteous Mr. Trump is nothing if not grateful to his minority of supporters. You’ll also note the references to crooked Hillary holding steady, though to be fair the incidence of that sobriquet for all 3019 stands at 6.82%. The man is clearly mellowing, exclamation points notwithstanding. (A technical aside here: the search term @nytimes need be preceded by a text-format-bestowing apostrophe. Overlook that punctuation, and Excel will read the @ sign as a vestigial Lotus 1-2-3 formula code.) The slightly odd downturn in Pence-bearing tweets and the slightly-odder-still dip in references to Trump probably reflects the fact that the gentlemen have since gotten their jobs, and no longer need to tug your sleeve as insistently.

If you’re doing your own downloading (that’ll be $7.80, tax included) you’ll doubtless find the tweets make for some interesting, and entertaining, reading. The November 20 encomium for General James “Mad Dog” Mattis forces one to wonder why Trump wanted you to know his nickname; and his view, voiced likewise on the 20th, of the post-production preachment aimed by some of the cast of the show Hamilton at playgoer Mike Pence – “The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior” – looks past Pence’s own recommendation that people see the musical. And Trump’s November 15 ascription of “genius” to the Electoral College won’t square with his 2012 tweet to the effect that the institution is a “disaster” (that allusion to the College, by the way, is the one and only among the 3019 tweets in my dataset.) And for what it’s worth, this pivot table:

Rows: Source

Values: Source

Drums up this distribution:


And it tells me that Mr. Trump’s phones are a lot smarter than mine, and apparently more numerous.

And if you are in fact downloading and analyzing, there’s one other spreadsheet-specific matter about which you’ll want to know: In past posts I made something of an issue about the uncertain time zones which the data in the Created At field record. I had speculated that the times keyed themselves to the zone in which the downloader resided, but a helpful note from Joel of twdocs set me straight. The tweets are in reality French-timed; that is, set to the time in that country (in which twdocs’ server is stationed) – or generally six hours later than Trump’s native New York. And indeed – my question to Joel about my hourly puzzlements spurred him to rename the Created At field to Created At (UTC+1hr).

And if – if – we assume that Trump’s 51 Nov 8-and-beyond tweets sprung from New York, a halfway plausible proposition, as the commander-in-chief likes to hunker down in his namesake towers – we could insert a column to the immediate right of Created At, call it NY Time, and enter, in what is now B7:


.25 is Excel’s way of expressing six hours – that is, one-quarter of a 24-day. Copy that little formulation down B and you’ve established New York-zoned tweet times.

And what that does among other things is trim the number of November 8-plus dates to 46, because the our six-hour recalibration has dragged five erstwhile November 8 times back into November 7.

If we then tread the path of least resistance and muscle in a blank row beneath 52, we can pivot table for the hours during which Trump’s most recent tweets were blurted to his 15.6 million followers, by corralling the A6:Z52 range:

Rows: NY Time (grouped for hours only)

Values: NY Time (Count)

I get:


The president-elect seems to like his tweets in the morning, or at least he does now. But again, an hour-driven scrutiny of all 3019 tweets can’t reckon as confidently with his whereabouts across the last nine months – he was campaigning, after all – and the corollary uncertainty about exactly when he dispatched his tweets.

But hasn’t Mr. Trump said he wants to be unpredictable?

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