clock menu more-arrow no yes

2017, as seen through President Trump’s tweets

Parody Trump Presidential Library Opens In Midtown Manhattan Drew Angerer/Getty Images

It might be hard to remember now, but presidential Twitter accounts used to be anodyne things, serving up inoffensive sentiments only occasionally written by the chief executive himself.

Then came 2017, the year Americans started to wake up wondering what the president would do on Twitter that day. Rail against his defeated opponent? Muse about the causes of the Civil War? Raise concerns that he was about to start a nuclear conflict?

Trump’s tweets reacted to the news and created more news. Each tweet bred a frenzied news cycle full of outrage and analysis and confusion. North Korean missile launches and the congressional agenda dictated his output as much as Times scoops and Fox & Friends segments.

Even his silence carried weight, leaving America wondering who took away his phone and, once the silence was broken, how he got it back.

This will not change in 2018. But it’s worth looking back at what Trump said — and sometimes conspicuously didn’t say — on Twitter. He doesn’t always author his own tweets, but they do seem to be the truest channel to his moods, his psyche, and his presidency. He has indicated so himself.

And so the most appropriate way to look back at 2017 might be through what the president tweeted. It means highlighting tweets about celebrities alongside threats to start nuclear war, the inconsequential feuds next to the darkest threats — because Trump himself appears to consider them of almost equal gravity.

For the first time, Americans had real-time, seemingly unfiltered access to what the president was thinking. It became commonplace to know if the president woke up angry at an MSNBC host, or at a Republican senator, or at Kim Jong Un. The tweets serve as an often poorly punctuated commentary on the year of news. But they also give a look at the psyche of the man who was driving it.

January 2017: the Steele dossier, John Lewis, and Neil Gorsuch

January 6: Trump starts pushing back against accusations of Russian interference

The director of national intelligence released a report January 6 that detailed the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The report confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the campaign, which included the hacks on the DNC and Democratic officials, to try to discredit Hillary Clinton and boost Trump.

In what would become a pattern, Trump appeared to take the report as an affront to his victory rather than a national security concern.

January 10: the infamous Steele dossier surfaces

The publication of the so-called Steele dossier, which included the “pee tape” rumors. Trump continued to slam the reports the next day as “UTTER NONSENSE” and defended himself by saying, “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA.”

January 14: Trump picks a fight with Rep. John Lewis

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) blasted Trump as an “illegitimate president,” which led Trump to attack the civil rights leader on Twitter — the first of a year of many attacks on outspoken and prominent black Americans.

January 30: the moment that made it worth it for conservatives

The Supreme Court Twitter tease also proved President Trump hadn’t abandoned his reality TV playbook either, promising a live announcement for his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. His appointment — which required the Senate to deploy the “nuclear option” to get rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments — was a clear victory for conservatives who held their noses and backed Trump in hopes of getting more conservatives on the Court.

February 2017: bad deals, “easy D,” and Michael Flynn

February 1: a “dumb deal”

The president reportedly ripped Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in their first phone call over an Obama-era agreement that the US would accept 1,250 screened and vetted refugees from Australia’s offshore detention centers.

Press secretary Sean Spicer tried to do some damage control, and said the president would honor the agreement —— which Trump quickly complicated by tweeting that he would “study” the deal. It sent a troublesome signal to the world that the US, under Trump, might not make good on its promises and international agreements, and caused friction with one of America’s closest allies.

February 5: a loss in court for the travel ban

Trump’s attacks on the judiciary began as a candidate, but took on a new tinge when he became head of the executive branch. Trump blasted a federal district court judge who issued a temporary restraining order on his travel ban.

Trump was vehement on Twitter over the court order, claiming the decision would cause “many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country.”

Then there were the times when Trump’s meaning was pretty clear but the tweet became a joke and a meme anyway:

February 14: Flynn is asked to resign — and Trump turns up the volume on leaks

Trump’s first public reaction (before this unfiltered press conference) after the firestorm over the firing of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was asked to resign after it emerged that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his December 2016 conversation with the Russian ambassador. It was the first high-profile axing of the Trump administration, and it came less than a month into Trump’s term, adding weight to charges that his presidency was in chaos and fueling questions about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

March 2017: “witch hunts,” wiretaps, and leakers

March 2: Trump calls the Russia investigation a “witch hunt,” at length

A Washington Post report revealed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with the Russian ambassador twice during the campaign — a fact he left out in his Senate confirmation hearings. After the revelations, Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe.

March 4: Trump accuses Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower

Trump lobbed an explosive allegation on Twitter — with zero evidence — that the former president had surveilled Trump Tower. The Obama administration denied the claim, and the FBI and NSA debunked it under oath.

Rep. Devin Nunes later attempted to support Trump’s claim, something he didn’t vet with his colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee — and later backtracked on. The whole episode demonstrated how far some on the Hill were willing to go to defend Trump, even as they were supposedly investigating Russian interference in the election.

March 20: “No evidence Potus colluded”

In retrospect, Trump’s Twitter account in March shows just how much things were heating up on the Russia investigation — and how vehemently Trump tried to deny the unfolding story. After then-FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee and confirmed the FBI was investigating, Trump again amped up his rhetoric against leaks.

March 25: “ObamaCare will explode”

House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the American Health Care Act, the unpopular Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, on March 24. Trump, meanwhile, was rooting for the failure of the Affordable Care Act, something he wouldn’t just cheer for but would actively try to bring about.

April 2017: unmasking and missile strikes

April 3: the wiretapping controversy becomes an unmasking controversy

Trump’s attempts to flip the narrative away from the Russia investigation and focus on the bogus claims that Obama administration wiretapped him during the campaign sparked a few days’ worth of tweets. The allegation was that former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice allegedly “unmasked” Trump associates — that she had asked intelligence agents to reveal the names of Trump transition officials who were in contact with foreign agents.

This wasn’t proof that Rice illegally spied on the Trump campaign, or even an accusation that she committed a crime. But that didn’t stop the controversy from dominating conservative media for days.

April 8: Trump defends a missile strike on Twitter

Trump ordered a limited cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase, firing 59 Tomahawk missiles from a US warship on April 6. The administration launched the attack in response to reports that the Syrian government had used poison gas against civilians. Trump had campaigned against involvement in Syria (and criticized Obama on this point), and his sudden action raised early questions as to Trump’s foreign policy goals.

Trump himself didn’t address the strike directly until about 48 hours later, first congratulating the military and then defending the decision not to bomb the runways at the Syrian airbase.

May 2017: bad history, the Comey firing, and “covfefe”

May 1: some really bad Civil War history

The rest of the month would bring much bigger news, but Trump started May by musing in an interview with SiriusXM’s Salena Zito about the Civil War (“People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question.”) Then he doubled down on Twitter, claiming that if Andrew Jackson had been president, the Civil War never would have happened.

A refresher before we continue: The Civil War was about slavery; many, many people have asked and argued about why the Civil War happened; Jackson, a slaveholder, was extremely unlikely to have solved the crisis.

May 8: the Flynnvestigation gains steam

The former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that she had warned the White House that Michael Flynn might have been “compromised” and vulnerable to Russian blackmail after he misrepresented his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.

She warned the White House at the end of January — more than two weeks before Flynn was officially fired. Trump wanted to focus on the leaks and the Russia hoax, but her testimony raised more questions about how and why Flynn stayed on the job for as long as he did.

Then the biggest news of the month (and arguably the year) happened offscreen: Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

May 9: the Comey aftermath

Trump’s stated reason for axing Comey was his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, an explanation that didn’t quite hold up — and then Trump finally confirmed it, by admitting he fired the FBI director because of the Russia investigation.

But even before the American public knew the extent of the complications around Comey’s firing — Trump’s admission, Comey’s leak of his contemporaneous memos, the eventual appointment of a special prosecutor — Trump didn’t quite seem prepared for the backlash. The morning after Comey’s firing, he unleashed an early morning tweetstorm that mocked Democrats for their outrage over Comey, saying that “when things clam down, they will be thanking me.” (That might be the case, depending on what ultimately happens with the investigation. But it won’t be the way Trump meant.)

May 12: Trump claims there are tapes. Comey sure hopes so.

Trump threatened Comey with alleged recordings of conversations, which only fueled the inevitable Nixon comparisons. The sinister tweet also put Trump in a bind — he’d likely face a subpoena or be caught in a bizarre lie. Or, as James Comey testified in June: “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”

May 16: Trump gives classified information to the Russians

Trump, in a meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, did little to put any suspicions to rest. He reportedly told the Russian ambassador that firing the “nut job” Comey had “taken off” the great pressure he felt about Russia.

Then the president reportedly bragged about his “great intelligence,” telling the delegation, according to the Washington Post, “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” and decided to prove it by sharing classified intelligence about an ISIS bomb plot. The source reportedly came from Israeli intelligence, and divulging it to the Russians endangered the life of an Israeli spy.

Also, the only journalist in the room was a photographer from Russia’s state news agency.

May 17: Robert Mueller becomes special prosecutor

On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Russia investigation after Sessions recused himself, appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special prosecutor.

May 31: “covfefe”

Trump deleted his original tweet, which read, “despite the negative press covfefe” and dropped off to nothingness. The intended word was likely “coverage,” but for a little while, Trump Twitter was kind of fun. Until it wasn’t.

May 31: the US leaves the Paris climate accords

Spoiler alert: America leaves the landmark Paris climate agreement. "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," Trump declared in a Rose Garden ceremony. The administration has since teased staying in the agreement on new terms, but for now, the US will stand alone as the sole country outside the pact. (Yes, even Syria joined.)

June 2017: Comey, collusion, and “bleeding badly from a face-lift”

June 9: “total and complete vindication”

Trump’s early review of Comey’s June 8 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee included a light perjury allegation thrown in.

June 14: a gunman opens fire on Republican members of Congress

A gunman opened fire on a baseball field where GOP lawmakers and their colleagues were practicing for the congressional baseball game. The shooter, who was killed by police, badly wounded Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and four others. It was a brazen and violent attack on lawmakers, putting Congress on edge, and Trump, in one of his first tests as “consoler-in-chief,” called for unity.

June 15: Trump reacts to a reported investigation into obstruction of justice

After it was revealed that Mueller was investigating Trump for potential obstruction of justice, Trump went on a dramatic tweetstorm — about Hillary Clinton.

June 20: Trump insists the special election is actually great news for the GOP

Trump gloated over Republicans’ victories in special elections, including the June 20 GOP victory in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in special election that drew national attention because Democrats eyed it as an opportunity to flip a GOP district where Trump underperformed in 2016. This gambit failed, but the election signaled that an energized Democratic Party was ready to mount serious challenges in regions previously dominated by the GOP.

June 29: “low I.Q. Crazy Mika”

No matter how much Trump might deny that he watches cable news, his Twitter feed is obvious evidence to the contrary.

Trump slammed Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski in a series of tweets, which lawmakers criticized as “beneath” the office of the presidency. The White House defended Trump’s remarks, and Trump Brzezinski and her co-host and fiancé, Joe Scarborough, wrote a Washington Post op-ed that accused Trump of trying to manipulate them into begging him to stop a tabloid story about the hosts’ relationship.

The hosts discussed their op-ed on the show, and Trump tuned in that morning to say that was “FAKE NEWS” and that Scarborough had begged him to stop the story. Scarborough fired back, and so the feud went, though Trump did at least admit that “crazy” Scarborough and “dumb as a rock” Brzezinski were “not bad people.”

After all that, Trump casually admits that those Comey “tapes” do not exist. Lordy.

July 2017: alt-right CNN GIFs and the trans ban

July 2: the most retweeted Trump tweet of the year

Trump’s most retweeted tweet of the year came on July 2, an edited wrestling clip to show him beating up a CNN logo, his frequent “fake news media” target. Some journalists found the tweet chilling, speaking to Trump’s larger hostility to the independent press. The GIF was traced back to an alt-right Reddit group.

July 9: Trump meets with Putin and denies Russian election meddling

Trump claimed the biggest talking point at the G20 summit at Hamburg was the DNC hack, but it was really the president’s first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A day before their sit-down, Trump cast doubt on the American intelligence community’s assessment of Russian hacking in the 2016 election. "I think it could very well have been Russia but I think it well could have been other countries and I won't be specific,” he told reporters at a press conference, adding, “nobody really knows for sure.”

Trump’s meeting with Putin lasted more than two hours, and the two reportedly discussed Russian interference in the elections and the civil war in Syria. But what exactly was said about those topics caused the problem: Trump reportedly accepted Putin’s denials that Russia didn’t interference in the 2016 election, as the US Congress prepared to slap Russia with more sanctions for just that.

July 17: Trump reacts to a bombshell report on his son’s meeting with Russians

The next twist in the Russia investigation came with a New York Times report on a private meeting June 2016 at Trump Tower between Russian nationals and members of Trump’s campaign team, arranged by Donald Trump Jr. The Times’s next scoop said Don Jr. was offered dirt on Hillary Clinton, and he was informed it was part of a Russian government effort to help his dad. Don Jr. preempted the next scoop — the communications about that meeting — and released those emails himself, including his response that “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

July 26: Trump bans trans people from the military — in tweets that led to fears he was about to start a nuclear war

Trump makes real policy on Twitter, after announcing a ban on transgender military troops serving in the military. The nearly 10 minutes between tweets had some nervous Trump was about to declare war on North Korea on Twitter, but what resulted was almost as unexpected. Military officials said Trump hadn’t consulted with them (Secretary of Defense James Mattis was on vacation) about the decision to reverse the Obama-era policy.

The confounding tweet put trans service members in limbo for months. In August, the Trump administration put out guidance that basically reverted to the pre-Obama policy but gave Mattis some authority to decide the status of openly trans troops already serving. As of December, a court had blocked the order, and trans service men and women can enlist openly as of January 1 — though the Trump administration could challenge that ruling.

July 28: “Let Obamacare implode, then deal”

Trump can’t resist an opportunity to claim he was right all along, and after Obamacare repeal was dramatically defeated in the Senate, he began pushing to let the law, which insures millions of Americans, fail.

August 2017: the Charlottesville fallout

August 2: a petty argument about whether the White House is a dump

A Golf.com report might explain why Trump spent nearly a third of his time in office at Trump properties. Trump, predictably, reacted with an attack on Golf Magazine.

These quick, angry tweets are rarely the most important news of the day, and they arguably capture too much attention in the moment. But they’re worth including because of the picture they paint of the president’s character. Trump’s Twitter account reveals him to be a man obsessed with petty grievances, ready to claim any negative report about him is a lie, and willing to air those grievances in an unprecedented manner for a president. (Remember when President Obama called Kanye West a “jackass” during his first year in office, sparking a multi-day controversy about whether the president should say such a thing?)

August 11: Trump implies nuclear war could be just around the corner

Tensions with North Korea escalated during the spring and summer as Pyongyang kept at its missile tests. In early August, the United Nations passed new sanctions against North Korea, which responded, as it typically does, with bellicose boasting.

Then on August 8, Trump responded in kind, threatening North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” North Korea responded by warning of a strike on Guam, a US territory. Trump escalated that even further with his “locked and loaded” tweet — irresponsibly implying the US is ready for war, and putting a nuclear strike back on the list of things to worry about.

August 12: “ — but Charlottesville sad!”

White nationalists rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, and in perhaps one of Trump’s most contentious moment as president, he denounced violence on “many” sides in prepared remarks after one of the white nationalists drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing a woman. His statement drew harsh criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. Trump later tweeted condolences to the “family of the young woman killed” and offered “best regards” to all those injured in Charlottesville.

August 14: Trump condemns “racist violence — and then backtracks

Trump issued a belated statement on Monday, August 14, condemning “racist violence” that fit a familiar pattern of him disavowing something way too late. And then on Tuesday, at a press conference in Trump Tower, he undermined his scripted statement by claiming again there were ”some very fine people on both sides,” referring to both the white nationalist demonstrators and the counterprotesters.

August 17: Trump stands up for Confederate monuments

After the violence in Charlottesville, the conversation quickly turned to the Confederate statues that pepper America’s landscape. Trump was on the side of the Confederate monuments, missing the point that while the founders were imperfect, they did something worth remembering — while the Confederate generals are commemorated for their support of secession, slavery, and white supremacy.

August 17: Trump casually calls for war crimes

Trump reacts to a terror attack in Barcelona by referring to a fake story about General Pershing shooting Muslim terrorists with bullets dipped in pig’s blood. There’s no evidence that this actually happened; the Philippines weren’t immediately pacified; and if this were to happen today, executing prisoners would count as a war crime.

September 2017: DACA, Puerto Rico, and the NFL

September 5: Trump ends protection for DREAMers and tweets at Congress

On September 5, the Trump administration said it would cancel protections for about 800,000 DREAMers — undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Based on the order, the program ends in March 2018, and no new applicants can sign up in the meantime. Congress has yet to make a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, though Trump, after making the announcement in September, later tweeted a cryptic line about DACA that said if Congress can’t fix the program in six months, I will “revisit this issue!”

Trump’s “Rocket Man” nickname for Kim Jong Un had already been rolled out on Twitter and at the United Nations, but adding “little” gave it new life — and fed into one of the most powerful forces in North Korea: anti-Americanism.

September 23: Trump picks a fight with the NFL

Trump slams NFL players who kneel for the national anthem at a Friday rally for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange. The next day he picks a Twitter fight with NBA star Steph Curry, and continues his tirade against the NFL, saying that players should be fired for expressing their opinions.

September 25: Puerto Rico “was already suffering from broken infrastructure”

While the president was busy slamming the NFL, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands were reeling from Hurricane Maria, which made landfall on Puerto Rico September 20 and flung the island territories into crisis. Trump, facing criticism over his handling of the disaster, criticized Puerto Rico’s poor state before the storm hit.

Trump wasn’t completely wrong about Puerto Rico’s infrastructure. But it’s telling that in the aftermath of disaster, his first instinct was to blame the victims. As the disaster unfolded, he continued to insist that the island was “doing great.”

October 2017: fights with a GOP senator and a Gold Star widow

October 8: Sen. Bob Corker warns Trump could start World War III

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, was asked about the drama between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump in early October. His response contained an implicit rebuke of Trump, which might have prompted Trump to go after the retiring senator on Twitter a few days later. Corker responded with a dig about “adult day care” and later told the New York Times in an interview that Trump’s actions could set America on the “path to World War III.” Trump sort of blamed the Times for that one.

Trump takes his media attacks a step further, with a (not exactly credible) threat to revoke broadcast licenses.

October 18: Trump fights with a Gold Star widow and her member of Congress

Four Green Berets were killed in a special operation in Niger on October 4. The mysterious circumstances of their deaths were at times overshadowed by a controversy over how the president treated the families of the fallen soldiers. It escalated after Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) said Trump’s comments to the widow of one of the deceased service members, Sgt. La David T. Johnson, were insensitive, after he told the widow her husband “knew what he signed up for.” Trump denied Wilson’s account.

It might have ended there, but Johnson’s own family backed up Wilson’s account, and Trump’s chief of staff had to clarify. He didn’t dispute what Trump said but defended his intentions.

It didn’t end there, either. Johnson’s widow spoke publicly about the call with Trump, saying it left her “upset and hurt” because he appeared not to remember her husband’s name.

October 30: ... Also, there is NO COLLUSION!

Paul Manafort, Trumps former campaign chair, and his associate Rick Gates are indicted for money laundering and other charges related to their work for the Ukrainian government. They are the first indictments to come from special counsel Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian interference.

November: “Al Frankenstien” and LaVar Ball

November 1: a terror attack in New York City

A vehicular attack in New York City by an ISIS-inspired terrorist gives Trump a distraction from the Mueller indictments, and gets him going on his favorite topic. The suspect, an Uzbek immigrant, reportedly received a visa through the diversity lottery, which becomes one of Trump’s new punching bags.

November 16: Trump is very concerned about Al Franken’s alleged groping

Trump, himself accused of multiple accounts of sexual harassment, goes after Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), as the #MeToo movement sweeps Congress. Trump is quick to make hay out of the allegations, which eventually forced Franken from office.

November 22: Trump versus LaVar Ball

Perhaps Trump’s first real feud of the 280-character-tweet era, this one, as with others, unfolds over days. It began with three UCLA players arrested for shoplifting in China, one of them the son of basketball’s most contentious dad, LaVar Ball. Trump, on his Asia trip at the time, helped negotiate their release. He demanded an apology, and got one, but the inevitable ego clash between Ball and Trump meant it didn’t go away.

December 2017: obstruction of justice

December 2: did Trump admit to obstruction of justice on Twitter?

Trump stayed mum on the Friday his former national security adviser had agreed to plead guilty to the FBI for lying about his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition, the biggest development in Mueller’s Russia investigation so far.

But by Saturday, Trump broke his silence, tweeting, “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.” But Trump had never before said he fired Flynn because he lied to the FBI — which meant that if Trump did know, then his decision to allegedly press Comey to “see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go” perhaps takes on a new meaning. Trump’s legal team, however, said he didn’t write the tweet himself.

December 3: Trump gets ammunition against Mueller

The New York Times reported December 2 that Mueller’s team fired an FBI agent from the Russia probe over anti-Trump texts. Trump and his defenders seized on this as proof of partisan bias in the special counsel’s investigation.

December 4: Trump makes it clear he’s endorsing Moore

Trump had defended Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore after he was accused of sexual misconduct ahead of the special election December 12. But he offered his outright endorsement on Twitter, while attacking his opponent as a “puppet.”

December 12: Trump’s sexist jab at a New York senator

As Congress grappled with its sexual harassment scandals, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called on Trump to resign over his own sexual misconduct allegations. Trump returned fire, but some critics interpreted his line that she would “do anything” for a contribution as sexist and as insinuating that the senator used her sexuality to solicit donations.

December 23: Trump revives attacks on the FBI deputy director

Trump has gone after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe over this before, but he revived his attack right before Christmas. At issue: McCabe’s wife ran for a state Senate seat in Virginia in 2015, backed in part with money provided by the state Democratic Party and Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's PAC. Trump and his defenders also used this as ammunition for his claim that the FBI and the Russia investigation are biased against him. Trump likely brought it up again as, per his second tweet, McCabe is planning to retire in March.

Seven months after Trump fired the FBI director, he also gave him a nickname: Leakin’ James Comey.

December 24: Trump wins the war on Christmas

Trump said we would say it again.

It all seems important in the moment — and that’s the point

One thing about Trump tweets: Many feel urgent in the moment, but sometimes less so with time. 2017 alone contained so many controversies that it’s almost impossible to remember them all. Then there’s Trump’s habit of routinely tweeting about the mundane (Fox News segments, UCLA basketball players) alongside the deadly serious (North Korea’s nuclear tests, the Russia investigation). The result is an unpredictable cacophony — you never know, on any given day, if the president is going to be railing at Kim Jong Un or at a member of his own party. He is capable of being as seemingly, vehemently preoccupied with NFL players’ peaceful protest as he is with the progress of his legislative agenda in Congress.

With hindsight, though, narratives begin to emerge. One thread is Trump’s strident, angry denials that Russia had anything to do with his victory. Another is his insistence, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that everything is working exactly as he planned it.

Meanwhile, the president is exiting 2017 with a Twitter tour de force: He again falsely claimed the tax bill’s repeal of the individual mandate “essentially Repeals (over time)” Obamacare; tweeted fake math about his administration’s gains against ISIS, deleted that tweet and replaced it with the correct version, and later retweeted another version of the tweet with the same bad math; revived his feud with Vanity Fair; and accused Amazon of swindling the US Postal Service.

Happy New Year’s Eve from the president of the United States:

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays.