How to troll on Twitter like Trump
This week, the New York Times devoted two full pages of its print paper to the 280 or so “people, places and things Donald Trump has insulted on Twitter since declaring his candidacy for president,” though a running tally has been available on its website for quite some time and will, presumably, continue to grow.
I took the liberty of putting the text of those tweets into a database and crunching some of the associated numbers, assuming it would lead to an insightful analysis of Mr. Trump’s psyche. I assumed wrong. What it does show, however, is not without value, albeit mostly entertainment. Here are the highlights:
First, let’s just say, for those of you who haven’t been following the presidential race closely, Donald Trump is disgusted with a wide, wide variety of entities, including: entire countries (Germany, Iran, China, Mexico, etc.), beauty queens (two former Miss Universes and model Molly Simms — a.k.a. “a disaster”), a Saudi Arabian prince (“dopey” Alwaleed bin Talal), other politicians (especially “lyin’” “sad” “mathematically dead and totally desperate” Ted Cruz and “crooked” “failed” “very dumb” and “totally confused” Hillary Clinton), most media (not us, though!) and at least one golf resort (Bandon Dunes in Oregon).
Closer to home, he thinks former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley is a “clown” — one of 14 uses of that term — and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie RawlingsBlake is a “joke” (13 uses).
His favorite Twitter insult is “crooked”; it was his third-most-used word behind “a” and “the,” appearing 201 times out of roughly 8,800 tweeted words and directed almost exclusively, as you might expect, toward Hillary Clinton (200 crookeds for her, and one for an anti-tax advocacy group).
Mr. Trump’s next most popular put down is “bad” (78 occurrences), followed by “dishonest” (73), “failing” (62), “failed” (47), “weak” (40), “lightweight” (32), “terrible” (31), “worst” (30), “rigged” (30), “disaster” (26), “dumb” (25), “phony” (25 — though there is also one use of “phoney”) and “boring” (22).
“Nasty” — the current insult du jour thanks to the last debate — only appears 10 times, directed at nine people, including Barbara A. Res, a former Trump executive and an occasional op-ed contributor to these pages (hey Barbara!). Some of my personal faves include: “goofy” (19 uses), “dopey” (18), “wacko” (3), flunky (4), flunkie (2) and sleazebag (1, appropriately lobbed at his fellow tweet-a-holic, Anthony D. Weiner).
Mr. Trump has complained on Twitter about those who talk about him without knowing him; who want to “breast pump in front” of him; who don’t “have a clue,” “strength or stamina”; and who he believes claim “phony Native American heritage.”
He’s got a bone to pick with actors Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg and Samuel L. Jackson; musician Neil Young; magician Penn Jillette and the state of New Jersey, which he described as “deeply troubled.”
Overall, he used more than 1,700 different words to construct the insults (contradicting the assessment of a colleague, who said the tweets appeared to show Mr. Trump has a 200-word vocabulary), with an average of two syllables apiece. Several five syllable words — “credibility” and “inaccurately,” for example — suggest he’s still following the “just below 6th grade level” pattern he’s been using for campaign speeches, according to a Carnegie Mellon University study. (President Bush previously scored at a 5th grade level.) And none of it likely matters much to Mr. Trump’s supporters, whose Facebook posts had the most grammatical mistakes of any presidential candidate, according to grammar checking company Grammerly Inc.
Some people have opened parody accounts on Twitter and tried to keep up with Mr. Trump’s cutting remarks: “Zzzzzz chick stuff being talked about, boring, everyone take a bathroom break,” @realDoneldTrump posted during the last debate.
And “Pathetic zoonotic disease analogy — SAD! Must #MakeScienceGreatAgain so my surrogates don’t sound stupid,” tweeted @ScientistTrump in response to a Mike Huckabee tweet saying the New Yorker’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton was akin to ticks endorsing Lyme disease.
Then there’s @ArtHouseTrump, who has nearly 13,000 followers. He’s posted a little over 300 tweets, and penned one saying “Believe me, I know more about cinema than the film critics do!” But he seems to understand he’s no match for The Donald. And probably shouldn’t aspire to be, anyway.
“Ugh,” he posted Oct. 7. “Donald Trump is not actually funny... I don’t even know what I am doing with this stupid account anymore... I feel bad. I’m sorry.”
If only Donald would come to a similar realization.