Trump's Twitter habits have changed — in subtle and not-so-subtle ways

  • Donald Trump's tweets have taken on a more defensive tone over the last couple months
  • The president remains focused on jobs, and he has kept up a steady drumbeat of attacks against the news media
Ronen Tivony | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Trump likes Twitter because it lets him get his message to supporters without the news media. And that message is shifting.

Since January, when the president used his Twitter feed to claim credit for Ford Motor's decision to invest $700 million in a Michigan plant, he has kept up "jobs"-related tweets, though more sporadically than he did over the first two months of his presidency.

Of late his attention has turned to other issues, and his tweets often involve him feverishly lashing out at people and the institutions he sees as opponents. Trump faces multiple inquiries into links between his presidential campaign and Kremlin officials.

The president has blasted out messages concerning his abrupt firing of former FBI Director James Comey — sometimes several a day. Trump has blurted out abrupt insults, such as calling Comey a "nut job" and a "showboat."

Trump continues to express his anger at "fake news" — a term he uses broadly for reports that criticize him or his administration — though less steadily than he did early on in his administration.

Trump's advisers and members of his own party have urged the president to curb his urge to tweet, but he continues to tweet regularly.

Lack of 'message discipline'

Wall Street has also taken notice of the president's erratic statements on twitter lately, following a stream last week that ranged from criticism of London's mayor following a murderous terror attack on that city, to a blast at Democrats for their supposedly slow pace of confirming nominees for White House jobs. (Trump's White House has trailed far behind the last six presidential administrations at making nominations in the first place.)

Of the 32 tweets Trump delivered last week, only five focused on the issue the White House had hoped to highlight during what it dubbed "Infrastructure Week," according to Chris Krueger, a policy analyst at Cowen and Co.

"Trump's Twitter message discipline left much to be desired," Krueger wrote in a note to clients Monday.

The president returned to jobs talk this week. On Monday, Trump pressed his claim that his job "no one would have believed" his administration could have created so many jobs as it has in the past seven months.

In fact, while the eight-year-old economic recovery continues to produce jobs at a healthy clip, the pace of job creation since his election has slowed — to about 1.1 million in the seven months since the election, down from about 1.3 million in the seven months before the election.