One of President Trump’s more mystifying falsehoods (and that’s saying something) is the notion that “the fake news media” – his all-purpose denigration for any outlet that’s not Breitbart, InfoWars, or Fox News – wants him to stop tweeting. Even considering the source, a man for whom lying comes seems to come as second nature, it’s a puzzler; literally no one in the media wants him to stop tweeting, because every time he tweets something semi-provocative, they get a quick and easy story that fills hours of airtime/bandwidth.
You know who wants him to stop tweeting? “Respectable” Republicans, who have to answer for every inexplicable attack on a morning show anchor or media organization. And his lawyers, since he keeps tweeting things that contradict their stated positions, or that could be used against him in the ongoing investigation into his administration’s Russian collusion and obstruction of justice. In fact, considering the consequences of this 71-year-old man’s wild, all-caps AOL-email-forward style tweets, how on earth does he keep doing so without some sort of interference? Well, we have a theory. (And we’re not the only ones: SNL likewise seems attuned to this important question concerning some very specific political, erm, movements.) Based on Trump’s personal tweeting patterns, how the missives that’re clearly formed by his own hand tend to come out in short bursts once or twice a day when no one else is around to stop him, it seems the President may be tweeting while he’s on the can.
Let’s look at the evidence.
First of all, it’s important to separate Trump’s own tweets from those generated by his staff and social media team – which are usually written, vetted, and scheduled by other people (and do not bear the original mark of “Twitter for iPhone”). They’re usually dry, safe, and dare we say, “Presidential” announcements of policy decisions, meetings, signings of executive orders, etc. We don’t care about those. We’re looking at the unhinged stuff.
Take, for example, his most unhinged recent rants, against Morning Joe hosts (and former chums) Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
Two in a row, six minutes apart, between 8:52 and 8:58 on the morning of June 29. Two days later, around the same time of the morning, he fired off four tweets on four different subjects – the cancellation of Greta van Susteren’s MSNBC show, the resistance to his “VOTER FRAUD PANEL,” CNN, and, again, Morning Joe – over the course of 21 minutes, from 8:59am to 9:20am:
On the 27th, Mr. Trump tweeted two pairs of tweets. The first two, again, came in the 8:00 hour, 17 minutes apart:
The second pair came after the end of the workday, five minutes apart:
And then there was this tweet-storm on the 26th, which began at (look at that) 8:30am and concluded at 9:05:
These are some of his most controversial missives, claiming his predecessor was not only aware of Russian collusion in the 2016 election, but allowed it. Also controversial: his June 5 tweets about his travel ban, which his administration kept insisting was not a “ban,” a point which he gleefully contradicted. Four tweets, sent 19 minutes apart, between 6:25am and 6:44am:
And the tweetstorm that ended with his confessed attempt to intimidate former FBI head James Comey began at, whaddaya know, 7:53am, and ended 23 minutes later:
Perusing the president’s Twitter feed, we found that the overwhelming majority of his personal tweets – particularly those attacking the media, Democrats, and his enemies in general – originated in the morning (usually around 8:30am), and were followed by more of the same, in short order, over a period of roughly 30 minutes.
Coincidentally enough, a 2008 bathroom habits survey by American Standard found that the average American spends 30 minutes per day in the bathroom, though one in four spends more than an hour. (That stat presumably increases with age.) And according to a Nielsen survey four years later, a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 check social media while on the toilet – well out of the President’s age range, sure, but then again, the President tweets like a teenager.
To be fair, the President’s tweeting habits could just be a reflection of his television watching: he is a faithful viewer (and subject) of Fox News’ morning program Fox & Friends, frequently reacting to the stories they cover, retweeting their feed, and occasionally turning his feed into a de facto live-tweet of the show. So which is it?
We reached out to the White House for comment, but they have not yet confirmed or denied that the president tweets from the toilet. If and when we hear from them, we’ll update this story accordingly; in the meantime, it seems, only one man knows, and he’s not telling. But at the rate we’re going, he’ll probably tweet about it sooner or later.