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Trumping Twitter: Examining the deleted tweets of Donald Trump

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 7:38
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(Before It's News)

By The Sunlight Foundation

A selection of Donald Trump’s deleted tweets from Politwoops.

Donald Trump’s Twitter account is not like other politicians’ Twitter accounts. His tweets don’t read like carefully-crafted, focus group-tested messages; they feature ALL CAPS, liberal use of exclamation points (“Sad!“) and crude nicknames for his opponents. But everyone, even Trump, tweets something they regret — and then deletes it. Thanks to Sunlight’s Politwoops tool, we know which Trump tweets didn’t make the cut.

Trump doesn’t often delete tweets, even when he retweets a white supremacist. Most of Trump’s entries in Politwoops are typos, and he quickly re-tweets a version of the same tweet, including his famous threat to “spill the beans” on Ted Cruz’s wife that was deleted and promptly tweeted again. And last week Trump deleted and reposted a tweet promoting an event in California that included a screenshot from a flight simulator after the creator of the image placed a copyright claim on it.

Looking at the last few weeks of Trump’s deleted tweets, though, there’s an interesting pattern: Nearly all of the tweets he deletes are about his media appearances.

Since May 1, Trump has tweeted, deleted and not re-tweeted nine messages about media appearances. For example, on June 5, Trump tweeted, “I will be interviewed by @JudgeJeanine tonight at 9pm on @FoxNews. Enjoy!” But 12 hours later, at 6:42 a.m., he deleted that tweet. On Monday, June 6, Trump tweeted about his own appearance on Fox & Friends, deleting the tweet 42 minutes later.

The day before, he tweeted about Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appearing on Fox News and deleted the tweet seven minutes later, just after the segment concluded. During that appearance, Gonzales criticized Trump’s comments on the judge in the Trump University case, saying it would be “inappropriate” to disqualify Judge Gonzalo Curiel based on his Mexican heritage.

Though he doesn’t delete all tweets about his media appearances, such as this tweet about an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, all his recent permanently deleted tweets are about media appearances. It’s hard to speculate about why Trump deletes these tweets, and a spokesperson for the campaign didn’t answer requests for comment. But it’s worth noting that a candidate who generally seems to be unembarrassed by whatever he tweets will consistently delete promotions of his and his surrogates’ media appearances.

The Sunlight Foundation is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency, and provides new tools and resources for media and citizens, alike.


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