Trump Tweets: How Often and on What Topics

  • Yu OuyangEmail author
  • Richard W. Waterman
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency book series (EAP)


To understand the breadth of Trump’s Twitter activity, we compiled a dataset of all of his tweets since he joined Twitter, over 43,000 tweets in total. This chapter represents our initial effort in identifying patterns in Trump’s tweets. We begin by presenting a descriptive, graphical analysis of the volume of his tweeting habits. By tracing the ebb and flow in Trump’s Twitter activity beginning with his first tweet in 2009, we are able to identify (1) changes over time and (2) how entering politics has affected his behavior on social media. Then, using computer text analysis and machine learning, we identify the topics that Trump discusses on Twitter. Our goal here is threefold. First, what does Trump talk about on Twitter? Second, how have the topics changed over time, and why? Finally, how do the topics of Trump’s tweets relate to one another?


Text analysis Machine learning Tweets Volume Topics 


  1. Abramson, Jill. 2018. “The Mueller Investigation Is Closing in on Trump.” The Guardian. (December 14, 2019).
  2. AFP Staff. 2017. “Trump on the Attack against Critics of Comey Firing.” i24NEWS. (December 13, 2019).
  3. Ahmadian, Sara, Sara Azarshahi, and Delroy L. Paulhus. 2017. “Explaining Donald Trump via Communication Style: Grandiosity, Informality, and Dynamism.” Personality and Individual Differences 107: 49–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Becker, Amy B. 2017. “Trump Trumps Baldwin? How Trump’s Tweets Transform SNL into Trump’s Strategic Advantage.” Journal of Political Marketing: 1–19.Google Scholar
  5. Blanton, Dana. 2017. “Fox News Poll: Voters Say Trump’s Tweets Hurting Agenda.” Fox News. (December 13, 2019).
  6. Bossetta, Michael. 2018. “The Digital Architectures of Social Media: Comparing Political Campaigning on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat in the 2016 U.S. Election.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 95(2): 471–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buchanan, Larry, and Karen Yourish. 2019. “Tracking 30 Investigations Related to Trump.” New York Times. (December 14, 2019).
  8. Buncombe, Andrew. 2018. “Donald Trump One Year on: How the Twitter President Changed Social Media and the Country’s Top Office.” Independent. (December 13, 2019).
  9. Carlisle, Madeleine. 2019. “President Donald Trump Is Talking Longer and Tweeting More Than in Past Years: Report.” TIME. (October 29, 2019).
  10. Cornfield, Michael. 2017. “Empowering the Party-Crasher: Donald J. Trump, the First 2016 GOP Presidential Debate, and the Twitter Marketplace for Political Campaigns.” Journal of Political Marketing 16: 212–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Enli, Gunn. 2017. “Twitter as Arena for the Authentic Outsider: Exploring the Social Media Campaigns of Trump and Clinton in the 2016 US Presidential Election.” European Journal of Communication 32(1): 50–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Epstein, Kayla. 2015. “Trump Responds to Megyn Kelly Questions on Misogyny – With More Misogyny.” The Guardian. (December 12, 2019).
  13. Fahrenthold, David A. 2016. “Trump Recorded Having Extremely Lewd Conversation about Women in 2005.” Washington Post. (December 12, 2019).
  14. Francia, Peter L. 2018. “Free Media and Twitter in the 2016 Presidential Election: The Unconventional Campaign of Donald Trump.” Social Science Computer Review 36(4): 440–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gallucci, Nicole. 2017. “The Number of Tweets Donald Trump Has Sent since Becoming President Is Downright Shocking.” Mashable. (December 13, 2019).
  16. Ghitis, Frida. 2019. “This Is What Happens When Trump Makes Foreign Policy by Tweet.” Politico. (October 29, 2019).
  17. Gross, Justin H., and Kaylee T. Johnson. 2016. “Twitter Taunts and Tirades: Negative Campaigning in the Age of Trump.” PS: Political Science & Politics 49(4): 748–54.Google Scholar
  18. Haberman, Maggie, Ashley Parker, Jeremy W. Peters, and Michael Barbaro. 2016. “Inside Dona’d Trump’s Last Stand: An Anxious Nominee Seeks Assurance.” New York Times. (December 13, 2019).
  19. Ingram, Mathew. 2017. “The 140-Character President.” Columbia Journalism Review. (December 13, 2019).
  20. Jamieson, Kathleen Hall, and Doron Taussig. 2017. “Disruption, Demonization, Deliverance, and Norm Destruction: The Rhetorical Signature of Donald J. Trump.” Political Science Quarterly 132(4): 619–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jansen, Bart, Kevin Johnson, and Brad Heath. 2019. “‘I Am Not Protecting Mr. Trump Anymore.’ Michael Cohen Ties the President to Ongoing Criminal Probes.” USA Today. (December 13, 2019).
  22. Karni, Annie. 2017. “Aides Give Up on Trying to Control Trump’s Tweets.” Politico. (December 12, 2019).
  23. Kelly, Caroline. 2019. “Trump Attacks McChrystal after Retired General Called Trump Immoral.” CNN. (October 29, 2019).
  24. Lee, Jayeon, and Young-Shin Lim. 2016. “Gendered Campaign Tweets: The Cases of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.” Public Relations Review 42: 849–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lee, Jayeon, and Weiai Xu. 2018. “The More Attacks, the More Retweets: Trump’s and Clinton’s Agenda Setting on Twitter.” Public Relations Review 44: 201–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Levin, Bess. 2019. “Trump Goes Off the Rails on 30th Day of Shutdown.” Vanity Fair. (April 2, 2019).
  27. Montanaro, Domenico. 2017. “Suspicious Timing and Convenient Reasoning for Trump’s Firing of Comey.” NPR. (December 13, 2019).
  28. Morris, David S. 2018. “Twitter Versus the Traditional Media: A Survey Experiment Comparing Public Perceptions of Campaign Messages in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.” Social Science Computer Review 36(4): 456–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Morris, David Z. 2016. “Trump’s Staff Have Taken Away His Twitter Account.” Fortune. (December 13, 2019).
  30. Oprysko, Caitlin. 2019. “Trump Tells Intel Chiefs to ‘go Back to School’ after They Break with Him.” Politico. (October 29, 2019).
  31. Roberts, Margaret E. et al. 2014. “Structural Topic Models for Open-Ended Survey Responses.” American Journal of Political Science 58(4): 1064–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Roberts, Margaret E., Brandon M. Stewart, and Dustin Tingley. 2019. “Stm: An R Package for Structural Topic Models.” Journal of Statistical Software 91(2): 1–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rucker, Philip. 2015. “Trump Says Fox’s Megyn Kelly Had ‘Blood Coming Out of Her Wherever.’” Washington Post. (December 12, 2019).
  34. Rupar, Aaron. 2019. “Trump’s Latest Morning of Tweets Was off the Rails, Even by His Standards.” Vox. (October 29, 2019).
  35. Scherer, Michael, and Zeke J. Miller. 2017. “Donald Trump After Hours.” TIME. (December 12, 2019).
  36. Schofield, Alexandra, Mans Magnusson, Laure Thompson, and David Mimno. 2017. Understanding Text Pre-Processing for Latent Dirichlet Allocation. Ithaca, NY.
  37. Schreckinger, Ben. 2018. “‘Oh, No’: The Day Trump Learned to Tweet.” Politico. (October 29, 2019).
  38. Sergent, Jim, and Javier Zarracina. 2019. “Telling Numbers from President Trump’s First 1,000 Days.” USA Today. (December 13, 2019).
  39. Shear, Michael D. et al. 2019. “How Trump Reshaped the Presidency in Over 11,000 Tweets.” New York Times. (November 19, 2019).
  40. Smith, David. 2018. “Pinocchio and the Two Democrats: How That Trump Meeting Descended into Farce.” The Guardian. (December 13, 2019).
  41. Wittes, Benjamin. 2019. “The Chain Reaction That Began When Trump Fired James Comey Is Speeding Up.” The Atlantic. (December 13, 2019).
  42. Zarrella, Dan. 2016. “Is 22 Tweets-Per-Day the Optimum?” (December 12, 2019).

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science, Economics, and World LanguagesPurdue University NorthwestHammondUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations