clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Trump’s tweets are getting more unhinged

After the Mueller report’s release, Trump tweeted that he’s “never been happier.” Then things took a turn.

President Trump And First Lady Depart White House For Atlanta
Trump speaks to reporters outside the White House on Wednesday morning.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

On Easter morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that he has “never been happier or more content.” But his tweets in the 72 hours since indicate otherwise.

Over the course of three days in which Trump had very little on his public schedule, he’s posted a string of increasingly bizarre tweets, culminating with one on Wednesday in which he denied placing a call to Washington Post reporter Bob Costa ... while confirming that he did in fact call Costa.

“I didn’t call Bob Costa of the Washington Post, he called me (Returned his call)!” Trump wrote, even though this is precisely what Costa said happened. “Just more Fake News.”

That sort of petty silliness is easy to dismiss, but on a more serious note, earlier Wednesday morning, Trump posted a tweet suggesting he’d ask the Supreme Court to intervene if House Democrats move forward with an effort to impeach him.

“I DID NOTHING WRONG,” he tweeted, alluding to special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report about his investigation of Russian election interference and the Trump campaign’s involvement in it — a report that stops short of accusing Trump of crimes but details a number of instances in which he attempted to obstruct the investigation. “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

But it’s unclear what Trump could ask SCOTUS to do, given that the Constitution clearly delegates impeachment power to Congress.

Still earlier Wednesday, Trump posted a tweet in which he accused Mexican troops of “pull[ing] guns on our National Guard Soldiers” as part of an alleged conspiracy with “drug smugglers on the Border.”

He went on to suggest that some sort of armed conflict with Mexico could occur if it happens again.

Trump’s tweet appears to refer to a Newsweek report about a recent border confrontation between Mexican soldiers and two American troops whom the Mexicans falsely suspected of crossings into their country’s territory.

But there’s no indication in public reporting that the Mexican troops were part of any drug smuggling conspiracy. A US military spokesperson said in a statement provided to the Washington Post that “[w]e believe this brief exchange was a misunderstanding concerning the location of the unmarked U.S. surveillance vehicle and an honest mistake by the Mexican soldiers. The Mexican military has been and continues to be a great partner with the United States military.”

In another tweet earlier Wednesday morning, Trump stoked fears about yet another migrant caravan, and again threatened to close the border with Mexico unless Mexican authorities completely stop migrants from traveling through the country toward the US’s southern border.

Trump just won’t let the spying thing go

But perhaps Trump’s wildest tweet of the morning came when he used a quote from a discredited conspiracy theorist to reiterate an unfounded idea he first pushed two years ago about the Obama administration “spying” on his campaign.

Citing the Trump-friendly news outlet One America News, Trump tweeted, “‘Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson accuses United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.’ ... WOW! It is now just a question of time before the truth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty!”

Suffice it to say that Larry Johnson, the former CIA officer Trump cites, is not a credible source. As the Independent detailed two years ago when Johnson was involved in Trump’s first failed effort to convince the public that Obama spied on him, Johnson has a long history of spreading baseless conspiracy theories about prominent Democrats:

Mr Johnson has been accused of mixing fact with fiction before. In 2008 he claimed on his blog that a tape existed of Michelle Obama “railing against whitey” at a church. Although he had not seen the tape himself, he said, “five other sources” had and it was being held by the Republicans “to drop at the appropriate time”. No such tape was released and no evidence was ever produced to prove its existence. The Obama campaign’s “Fight the Smears” website declared that the allegations were an invention.

In 2013, in another blog post, Mr Johnson falsely accused John Kerry of sexual assault, claiming that he had “raped some poor Vietnamese woman” in Vietnam. The assertion came from a TV debate in 1971 which had been edited and altered to make Mr Kerry say “I personally raped for pleasure”. When the manipulation was pointed out by readers of the blog he deleted the article. No apology was ever offered.

As was the case two years ago, there remains no evidence that anyone associated with Trump was improperly surveilled during the 2016 election. FISA warrants were taken out against onetime Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page after he left the campaign, but the warrant applications went through standard processes and were authorized by four judges appointed by Republican presidents.

Trump has been tweeting nonsense about a variety of topics

While Trump’s Wednesday morning tweets were especially off the rails, Monday and Tuesday weren’t much better. Trump tweeted bogus theories about how the impeachment process works, falsely claimed Mueller didn’t seek testimony from people in his inner circle, retweeted a post accusing Democrats of trying to orchestrate a “COUP” to get him out of office, and urged the New York Times to “get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness” in a tweet in which he falsely claimed the publication apologized to him for its coverage of the 2016 campaign.

In other tweets, Trump rewrote history about Bill Clinton’s impeachment, called Morning Joe anchor Joe Scarborough “Dumb and Sick,” and pushed baseless conspiracy theories about Twitter decreasing his follower count by “taking people off list.”

His string of tweets the past three days comes during the first full week after the release of the Mueller report. The report, which was released last Thursday, makes clear that Trump tried to obstruct the FBI’s investigation of his campaign on a number of occasions, only to be thwarted by aides who refused to carry out legally dubious orders.

“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful,” the report states, “but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

Trump kicked off his tirade with a tweet Friday morning labeling parts of the Mueller report “total bullshit.” That represented a dramatic reversal from a month earlier, when he trumpeted Attorney General Bill Barr’s misleading summary of Mueller’s bottom-line conclusions as “Total EXONERATION.”

If Trump still feels like he’s been exonerated, he sure isn’t tweeting like it.

The news moves fast. To stay updated, follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter, and read more of Vox’s policy and politics coverage.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.