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What Trump's Most Retweeted Tweet In 2017 Says About The Past Year

Dec 13, 2017
Originally published on December 13, 2017 7:14 pm
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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And now our series for this week, Highly Specific Superlatives of 2017. Today - the most retweeted tweet of President Donald Trump. Here to present it is NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith. Hi, Tam.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hello. And I'd like to also think of myself as sort of a resident expert on Trump tweeting at this point.

SIEGEL: OK, if you accept that role.

KEITH: It is...

SIEGEL: It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.

KEITH: Somebody's got to do it.

SIEGEL: And the winning tweet for this past year turns out to be more audiovisual than textual.

KEITH: That's right. It is a tweet that went out July 2 and doesn't have a lot of words, just #FraudNewsCNN, #FNN. And then there's a video.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "WRESTLEMANIA")

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: What's going to happen?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Oh, my God.

KEITH: So this is a video of President Trump back when he was a businessman in a wrestling match as part of the WWE, the professional wrestling, where he knocks a man down to the ground. The video has been modified to replace the man's head with the CNN logo.

SIEGEL: I think first video featuring a future president at a WWE event, throwing somebody to the ground...

KEITH: Yes.

SIEGEL: ...Probably. And it's part of the president's preoccupation with the news media and with CNN.

KEITH: He tweets about the news media on a very regular basis, including today, feels that he's mistreated and talks about it a lot. I should say that this tweet generated a huge amount of controversy because you have essentially the president of the United States taking out a news organization metaphorically. But still, it was highly criticized at the time. President Trump - he has a certain philosophy about his tweeting which he outlined in an interview in late-October on Fox Business with Maria Bartiromo.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: When I put it out, you put it immediately on your show. I mean, the other day, I put something out. Two seconds later, I'm watching your show. It's up. Donald Trump...

MARIA BARTIROMO: (Laughter) You're right. We're watching your Twitter feed.

TRUMP: OK. And you know, they're well-crafted.

SIEGEL: (Laughter) If he does say so himself.

KEITH: Yes. And he loves generating that conversation, pushing the news cycle. And he says that he doubts he would be president without social media.

SIEGEL: Well, this was the most retweeted Trump tweet of the year. What were the runners-up?

KEITH: Number two came November 11. This is while President Trump was on his Asia tour. And he tweets, why would Kim Jong Un insult me by calling me old when I would never call him short and fat? Oh, well, I try so hard to be his friend, and maybe someday that will happen, exclamation point - which is an interesting thing to tweet given the current dynamics between North Korea and the United States in recent intercontinental ballistic missile testing.

SIEGEL: Yeah. So that's number two. What was number three?

KEITH: Number three, President Trump tweets, despite the constant negative press covfefe...

SIEGEL: Covfefe, yes.

KEITH: And then it just trails off. We had to figure out how to pronounce covfefe. We believe this is how it's pronounced. That tweet was deleted approximately nine hours after it was originally sent out. And yet it was still his third-most retweeted tweet.

SIEGEL: (Laughter) OK. That's NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith with her year-end highly specific superlative, the most retweeted presidential tweet of the year. Thanks, Tam.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.