President TrumpDonald TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report MORE frequently kept the political world off-balance with his Twitter account over the course of his first year in office, sending hundreds of tweets.
Trump has said he finds Twitter a useful tool to circumvent the press and speak directly to his nearly 45 million followers.
But the president has also used Twitter to undermine his Cabinet, to attack lawmakers in his own party, to set in motion policies that have caught government officials by surprise and to scold U.S. allies abroad.
Here are 20 memorable tweets from a busy year in Trump’s Twitter timeline, presented in no particular order:
1) Obama wiretap
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Trump’s claim — presented without evidence — that former President Obama spied on him at Trump Tower was met with outrage and incredulity by the press and the president’s critics.
In a later tweet, Trump claimed that Obama “was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election” and called his predecessor a “bad (or sick) guy.”
Senior administration officials were forced to defend the claim on a daily basis at briefings and on cable news interviews.
But the White House never backed down, even after former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHillary 2024? Given the competition, she may be the Dems' best hope Trump draws attention with admission he 'fired Comey' Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE testified under oath before Congress that there was no truth to the claim.
Trump later claimed vindication after media reports that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortManafort book set for August publication Accused spy's lawyers say plans to leave country were over Trump, not arrest Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE had been wire-tapped and that the FBI had obtained a FISA warrant related to a Russia probe to spy on Trump officials during the transition.
But Trump’s claim that Obama had wire-tapped Trump Tower would give his detractors and the media ammunition to question the White House’s truthfulness, an issue that would soon become a running problem for the administration.
2) Puerto Rico
...Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
...want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
Trump attacked the mayor of San Juan and criticized Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, debt and dependence on the federal government while the island territory was in the midst of a humanitarian crisis brought on by Hurricane Maria.
Critics had already accused the administration of being slow to react to the disaster in Puerto Rico, contrasting the government’s response there to the widely praised rescue and relief efforts that were underway in the wake of hurricanes and floods that had ravaged the Gulf Coast.
Democrats condemned Trump’s tweeted attacks against Puerto Rican officials, as well as his claim that Puerto Ricans were not doing enough to help themselves as racist and heartless.
3) Michael Flynn
I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017
While fundraising for Republicans in New York City, someone with access to Trump’s account tweeted that Trump had fired his former national security adviser Michael Flynn for lying to Vice President Pence and the FBI about the extent of his contacts with Russians.
Trump had previously said he fired Flynn only for lying to Pence. Trump’s claim that he knew Flynn had lied to the FBI seemed certain to attract the attention of Robert Mueller’s special counsel, which had just secured a guilty plea from Flynn.
If Trump had fired Flynn for lying to the FBI and then asked Comey to drop the investigation, as Comey has claimed, it could give credence to the idea that the president had sought to obstruct justice in the case.
Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, later claimed he was responsible for the tweet. Dowd apologized and called it a mistake.
4) 'Radical Islamic Terrorism'
.@Theresa_May, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2017
On Nov. 29, Trump retweeted a series of unconfirmed videos purporting to show violent acts by Muslims, which were first sent out by Jayda Fransen, a leader of a far-right nationalist party in Great Britain. The tweets are no longer available online because Fransen’s account has been suspended under Twitter’s new rules governing hate speech on the social media platform.
The anti-Muslim videos set off a firestorm: Democrats renewed calls for Trump to be impeached and British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the tweets as “prejudiced rhetoric of the far right” and said “it is wrong for the president to have done this.”
The White House defended the tweets, saying they drew attention to the problem of radical Islamists and highlight the president’s agenda on national security.
But Trump’s response to May — telling her to worry about her own country — further complicated relations between the U.S. and a key ally.
And it raised questions about where Trump gets his news and whether he buys into conspiracy theories.
On the same day, Trump used Twitter to resurface unfounded allegations that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a fierce critic of the president, was somehow involved in the death of one of his former interns.
5) James Comey "tapes"
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
A week after firing Comey, the president suggested over Twitter that he had secretly recorded their private conversations.
The veiled threat has haunted Trump ever since. Comey said the tweet prompted him to leak the personal memos he wrote detailing his encounters with Trump — including his claims that the president had asked him for loyalty and leniency for Flynn.
Trump later said he was bluffing about the recordings to keep Comey honest in his testimony about their encounters.
6) Trump versus the NFL
Two dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country. No leadership in NFL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2017
Trump dove headlong into the culture wars in October with a series of tweets expressing his disgust with NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
The president would continue the attacks throughout the season, calling on individual players to be cut or suspended, attacking an ESPN anchor who called him racist, mocking NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his handling of the protests and gloating over the league’s ratings struggles.
Vice President Pence would later walk out during an Indianapolis Colts game.
While the White House seemed to successfully turn the debate into one about American pride and support for the troops, polls show the public disapproved of both the president’s attacks and the players’ decision to kneel during the anthem.
7) North Korea diplomacy
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
Trump’s Twitter diplomacy has caused panic in the foreign policy establishment, where there are grave concerns that the president’s tweets will escalate a confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea.
Over Twitter, Trump has relished calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “rocket man,” while also mocking him for being “short and fat.”
Trump has also undermined Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe West must deter aggression from tyrants better than it did last century Hillicon Valley — Blinken unveils new cyber bureau at State Blinken formally announces new State Department cyber bureau MORE over Twitter, saying he is “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man” and that the U.S. will “do what has to be done.”
Tillerson has been working on a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear program, an effort that has been complicated by Trump’s public Twitter pronouncements.
8) Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Those predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold MORE
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonA year into his presidency, Biden is polling at an all-time low The Memo: 2024 chatter reveals Democratic nervousness Second gentleman Emhoff acts as public link to White House MORE crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017
Trump’s attack against Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a shocking lesson in how the president could turn on one of his most loyal allies.
The president appointed Sessions to lead the Justice Department knowing he who would crackdown on illegal immigration and drugs, fulfilling key promises Trump made during the campaign.
But Trump was furious that Sessions recused himself from matters pertaining to Russia, paving the way for the special counsel investigation that has cast a cloud over Trump’s first year in office.
Trump’s attacks against Sessions have continued throughout the year. Rather than taking the drastic step of firing Sessions, Trump seems content to make his life miserable. Many of the president’s allies have since taken up the torch and are demanding Sessions shut down the special counsel probe or step aside to make room for someone who will.
9) Transgender military debate
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
Trump took the Pentagon by surprise when, seemingly out of nowhere, he announced over Twitter that he would ban transgender people from serving in the military.
The tweet caused chaos and confusion and was condemned by critics in both parties as bigoted and unnecessarily cruel to some active service members.
A month later, Trump followed up on the tweet in a memo that instructed the Defense Department to stop accepting transgender recruits.
That directive is tied up in the courts, with a federal judge recently ruling that the Trump administration must accept transgender recruits into the military by Jan. 1. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled against the administration’s efforts to delay that ruling.
10) Charlottesville, Va.
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
In a series of weekend tweets, Trump addressed the racially charged violence that broke out at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. The tweets expressed vague sentiments of unity, but did not specifically call out the white supremacists at the center of the deadly violence.
Trump would later be pilloried for saying there was blame to go around “on many sides,” an equivocal response to the racially charged violence that is widely viewed as a low point of his presidency.
The president later sought to walk back his remarks, specifically condemning racism and disavowing racist groups while complaining over Twitter that the “truly bad people” in the media had not paid attention to his “additional remarks.”
But the damage had been done. Less than a week later, Trump revisited the controversy by lamenting over Twitter that he was “sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.”
11) Sexual harassment
The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? .....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2017
Trump injected himself into the national debate over sexual harassment in November, tweeting an attack against Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenMeet the Democrats' last best hope of preserving a House majority Franken rules out challenge against Gillibrand for Senate seat Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour MORE (D-Minn.), who has been accused of groping and forcibly kissing several women.
By doing so, the president opened himself up to charges of hypocrisy. More than a dozen women have accused the president of inappropriate touching or unwanted sexual advances.
And Trump’s critics accused him of holding a double-standard by condemning Democrats accused of sexual harassment, even as he backed Republican Senate candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreAlabama GOP gears up for fierce Senate primary clash Press: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Roy Moore loses lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen MORE in Alabama, who had been accused of molesting teenage girls.
In his resignation speech, Franken noted the “irony" in the fact that he was resigning from the Senate while a man who "bragged" about his history of sexual assault is still in the White House.
In a later tweet, Trump would pile on disgraced “Today” host Matt LauerMatthew (Matt) Todd LauerHillary 2024? Given the competition, she may be the Dems' best hope Katie Couric dismisses early coverage of book as 'strange, willful misinterpretation' Katie Couric says she felt 'betrayed' by Lauer after sexual assault allegations MORE, who was fired amid a slew of sexual harassment allegations against him.
12) Robert Mueller
You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history - led by some very bad and conflicted people! #MAGA— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2017
The White House has tried to avoid conflict with special counsel Mueller and his team, preferring instead to cooperate with the investigation in the hope that the president will be cleared and the shadow over his presidency removed as soon as possible.
But that hasn’t stopped Trump from occasionally questioning the motives of Mueller’s investigators and lashing out over Twitter at what he calls a partisan “witch hunt.”
Trump would return to the “witch hunt” claim on Oct. 29 in a series of tweets claiming that there was a Democratic conspiracy against him and complaining that Hillary Clinton had gotten a free pass from investigators.
The next day, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was indicted on a litany of financial charges.
13) Mika Brezinski
I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
...to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
Trump despises his cable news critics on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, anchored by Joe Scarborough and his fiancée, Mika Brzezinski.
But Trump’s attack on Brzezinski for getting cosmetic surgery was surprising for its ferocity, even by Trump’s standards.
The tweet was condemned by many as sexist, with critics pointing to Trump’s past Twitter attacks against women. The president had previously called anchor Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” on Twitter.
14) Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats make voting rights push ahead of Senate consideration Hogan won't say if he will file to run for Senate by Feb. 22 deadline Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities MORE and ObamaCare
Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn't get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2017
Trump’s attack against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) after the Senate failed to pass a bill to repeal ObamaCare forced Republicans to take sides at a time when the party’s agenda appeared hopelessly stalled on Capitol Hill.
Washington Republicans rallied around McConnell and were frustrated by Trump’s insistence on attacking the person he needs to move his agenda through the Senate. Gleeful grass-roots conservatives demanded McConnell step aside and vowed war against the majority leader and his allies.
The feuding raised questions about whether the GOP would spoil its majorities in Congress over intraparty infighting. But Trump and McConnell finished the year praising one another on the South Lawn of the White House after a victory on tax reform.
15) Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDefense bill sets up next fight over military justice Harry, Meghan push family leave with annual holiday card Overnight Energy & Environment — New York Democrats go after 'peaker' plants MORE
Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerRomney: I never got a call from White House to discuss voting rights Kyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage Joe Biden's disastrous 48 hours MORE and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017
Trump lashed out at Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a potential 2020 presidential candidate, after the New York Democrat said the president should resign over the allegations of sexual harassment against him.
For a potential Democratic presidential candidate, there is no greater windfall than to be the subject of a tweeted Trump attack. Facing Trump’s social media wrath can boost a politician’s national profile, energize the grass roots and incite a wave of donations.
Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: 2024 chatter reveals Democratic nervousness We are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified Fed's Brainard faces GOP pressure on climate stances MORE (D-Mass.), who Trump disparages as “Pocahontas” over Twitter, has seen her own profile rise after Trump attacks.
Trump elicited outrage from the press for tweeting out a video showing him body-slamming a man with the CNN logo emblazoned on his head at a fake wrestling match.
Many in the media described the video as a direct threat with the potential to incite violence against reporters. There was a race to determine who had created the video, and CNN came under fire for tracking the person down and only keeping him anonymous on the condition that he never engage in “ugly behavior” on social media again.
Trump’s attacks on the press have been a hallmark of his first year in office. Recently, he went on Twitter to say a “fake news trophy” should be given out to the most dishonest outlet.
The press has accused Trump of using the “fake news” moniker for stories he doesn’t like, while the president’s critics have warned about the dangers of casting doubt on the free press.
But Trump’s offer of a fake news trophy foreshadowed the rockiest week for the media of the year.
Days later, ABC News suspended one of its top political reporters for getting a Russia-related story wrong, and CNN retracted a story claiming that Donald Trump Jr.Don TrumpRittenhouse to speak at Turning Point USA event White House calls Jan. 6 text revelations 'disappointing' Court orders release of some redacted passages of Mueller report MORE had been given special access to hacked Democratic emails by WikiLeaks before they were released to the public, giving the president and his allies fresh political ammunition in the fight.
The infamous “covfefe” tweet spawned countless memes, late-night comedy jokes and T-shirts, showing the grip Trump’s Twitter account has on pop culture.
Trump’s critics had a field day with the misfired tweet, sent at 12:06 a.m. and deleted about six hours later.
Trump also showed a sense of humor about it, tweeting later in the day: “Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe” ??? Enjoy!”
Who can figure out the true meaning of "covfefe" ??? Enjoy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
18) Foreign policy
The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
Trump was less than a week into his presidency when one of his tweets provoked a foreign leader to cancel a planned meeting.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto dashed a planned meeting between the two after Trump reiterated his claim that Mexico would pay for a wall along the southern border.
It is part of a pattern of Trump alienating longtime U.S. allies and partners over Twitter.
In June, Trump attacked London Mayor Sadiq Khan in the wake of a terror attack in the British capital after Khan said there is "no reason to be alarmed.” The president also feuded over Twitter with British prime minister Theresa May, who was offended when Trump tweeted out videos purporting to show Muslims committing acts of violence.
19) LaVar Ball
Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
It was a pop culture showdown between Trump and LaVar Ball, the father of basketball sensations who has made a career of unapologetic self-promotion that many view as “Trump-ian” for its bombast.
Trump felt slighted that Ball refused to give him credit for springing his son, a UCLA basketball player, from a Chinese prison after he was arrested on shoplifting charges. But like Trump, Ball does not like being told what to do.
The White House insisted that Trump was “happy to intervene,” but the tweet showed there is no one Trump won’t tangle with if he believes he is not getting due credit.
20) "Chuck and Nancy"
Meeting with “Chuck and Nancy” today about keeping government open and working. Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2017
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerRomney: I never got a call from White House to discuss voting rights Kyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage Joe Biden's disastrous 48 hours MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP senator knocks Biden for 'spreading things that are untrue' in voting rights speech Sen. Ron Johnson: Straight from the horse's mouth Clyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' MORE (Calif.) abruptly pulled out of a meeting with Trump to negotiate federal spending after the president attacked them over Twitter, greatly enhancing the possibility of a government shutdown.
It was evidence of Trump’s tweets having a real-world impact. Liberals cheered the Democratic leaders for fighting back rather than absorbing Trump’s blows.