It’s been subtle enough that some casual observers may have missed it, but Donald Trump hasn’t been doing any his own tweeting for weeks. Some of the tweets have been written in a manner aimed at sounding like a slightly less manic version of him, but none of it’s been him. The wording and phrasing has pointed to a carefully crafted facsimile written by his staffers, raising further questions about how they’ve been able to keep Trump away from Twitter, and what that says about his declining mental state.
It’s still not clear who among Trump’s staff had been impersonating him on Twitter, but we have an educated guess. From the start he’s had staffers periodically tweeting stately messages and announcements in his name, but we’re not talking about that. This is something new and different. For instance, although it was crafted to sound like him, Trump didn’t write this tweet on July 12th: “The W.H. is functioning perfectly, focused on HealthCare, Tax Cuts/Reform & many other things. I have very little time for watching T.V.” Nor did Trump write this tweet this morning: “The ABC/Washington Post Poll, even though almost 40% is not bad at this time, was just about the most inaccurate poll around election time!”
That’s simply not how Donald Trump refers to those media outlets, or how he abbreviates or capitalizes things. He gets all those things wrong, but he gets them wrong in a specific way. Even this tweet from this morning, which seems to have been purposely riddled with random miscapitalizations to make it look like something Trump would type, doesn’t come off as authentically him: “HillaryClinton can illegally get the questions to the Debate & delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News Media?” In fact we can’t find one tweet since June 27th, the day he hired an attorney for his son, legitimately reads like something Trump wrote himself. Perhaps that was the moment that finally broke him.
So who’s been ghost-tweeting for Trump these past weeks? We can’t prove it, but based on the phrasing and the underlying psychology behind these tweets, they strongly feel like they were crafted by Kellyanne Conway. It may not be a coincidence that she’s now rather gleefully reemerged as a Trump surrogate on television after a long absence. But where is Donald Trump in all this? And what does it say about his declining mental state that he’s no longer willing or able to fight his staff for his right to tweet toxic garbage? If you find Palmer Report valuable, make a donation.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report