Donald Trump's presidential campaign has had a difficult week. Ben Carson has proved the first threat to Trump's national poll lead in months, while Marco Rubio is picking up more and more support from the Republican establishment. Naturally, Trump has responded by insisting he's still on top while lashing out against both his main rivals — especially through his Twitter account.
So once again, in recapping the week, we're going to rate selected tweets from the @RealDonaldTrump account on a scale of "one Trump" to "five Trumps." A rating of "five Trumps" should not be construed as an endorsement of these tweets. Instead, it is an impartial metric of their Trumpiness level. The Trumpiest tweets tend to have some combination of braggadocio about the billionaire's supposed awesomeness, personal and petty insults aimed at people he's feuding with, and disciplined recitation of campaign talking points — often with some bizarre, unpredictable, offensive, or factually inaccurate twist. Here are this week's ratings.
Trump combines his feud with Megyn Kelly and his obsession with polls with his habitual factual inaccuracy
Isn't it terrible that @megynkelly used a poll not used before (I.B.D.) when I was down, but refuses to use it now when I am up?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2015
This tweet has three Trump-y elements. First, it's a throwback to Trump's long-running feud with Fox News's Megyn Kelly — it sometimes seems that whenever things aren't going well for him, he decides to throw a dig Kelly's way. Second, even though Carson led several recent national polls at this point, Trump is insisting that he's still a winner. And third, his accusation against Kelly isn't even true, as the Fox host soon pointed out in a tweet of her own:
Despite all this, this tweet isn't quite creative or unique enough to earn a very strong rating. As Trump himself might say, it just "doesn't have 'it..'" So I award it three Trumps.
Trump ... says something nice?
This is a strange one. Trump has been insisting for weeks now that there should be fewer candidates onstage during the debate. Now that the number has finally been reduced to eight — leading Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee to be bumped to the earlier undercard debate — he's reversed himself.
I suppose it is rather Trump-y to compliment candidates who don't seem to be a threat to his poll dominance (Trump used to say some very nice things about Ben Carson but sure doesn't anymore). Still, for the out-of-character refusal to define a candidate's worth by his poll standing, I award this tweet a mere one Trump.
Trump is furious that Rubio is being praised as good-looking
Trump wasn't particularly thrilled that pundits declared Rubio the winner of last week's GOP debate. But he was really unhappy when, while watching MSNBC's Morning Joe, he saw that columnist Matt K. Lewis had happened to mention that Rubio is good-looking.
So in this tweet, Trump brags that he was declared the winner in (completely meaningless) online surveys, insults those who thought Rubio won as "desperate people," and demonstrates once again his obsession with physical appearance. ("I think I'm better-looking than he is," Trump elaborated later in the week.) This is a combination of dishonesty and insecurity that's worthy of a four-Trump rating.
Trump goes after Ben Carson with both barrels
With Ben Carson wanting to hit his mother on head with a hammer, stab a friend and Pyramids built for grain storage - don't people get it?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2015
There's nothing Donald Trump hates more than looking like a loser — so when Ben Carson took the lead in a few recent polls, he decided to hit back hard.
Luckily for Trump, Carson fell under increased media scrutiny this week. First, a CNN report questioned whether he had exaggerated stories about his troubled childhood — Dylan Matthews recaps the controversy and Carson's response here. Then BuzzFeed News posed a strange old video in which Carson said he thought the pyramids were built to store grain.
So here Trump combines both controversies in one tweet and closes with the suggestion of something even uglier that he doesn't make explicit. This is Trump throwing everything he has at his rival, to try to crush him completely. What could be Trumpier than that?