Trump has more than 27 million followers on his personal Twitter account
"I think he rants and raves. He doesn't think about it," one supporter said
President Donald Trump is the nation’s tweeter-in-chief, and his missives often provoke controversy, even among those who voted for him.
But there’s one tweet that several assembled Trump voters – who expressed varying degrees of enthusiasm for the President – could agree on.
According to many of his supporters, Trump was wrong about “Saturday Night Live” being unwatchable and Alec Baldwin’s impersonation not being good.
“He has no sense of humor,” one tweeted.
“That was hilarious!”
“Humor at its best,” another said.
“Alec Baldwin did a fabulous job!”
Trump has more than 27 million followers on his personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump. Another 16 million people follow his official presidential account, @POTUS.
To some, including Trump himself, Twitter offers a chance to bypass media that they see as biased or dishonest – and an opportunity for the country’s leader to engage with the masses in the moment.
“I feel it’s a great way to reach out to your constituents and create a give-and-take, because people obviously respond to his tweets, retweet the tweets,” said Ilene Wood of Emmaus, Pennsylvania. “In general, I’m in favor of it.”
Emma Leach, who became a die-hard fan of then-candidate Trump after attending a campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, says Trump’s use of Twitter energizes younger people, such as herself.
A few years ago, Leach said, she could have asked a friend what Obama did in office that day, and she wouldn’t have known.
“But today she’ll know what Trump tweeted or what Trump did or what executive order happened,” Leach said. “She’s involved now.”
Of the Trump voters that CNN spoke with in eastern Pennsylvania, two months into Trump’s term, most didn’t mind that the President uses such an unorthodox method of communication.
“It’s like a modern-day constituent letter,” Leach said. “They’re tweeting at their president, they’re voicing their opinion, and they’re more politically involved.”
But the immediacy is a double-edged sword.
“In some situations, that’s an excellent thing because he’s able to get the word out very quickly and perhaps get reactions and responses back,” said Wood. “But at the same time, it creates a possibility of engaging your mouth before you’ve engaged your brain.”
Scott McCommons of Altoona, is a lifelong Democrat who crossed party lines to vote for Trump and follows Trump on Twitter.
“I think he rants and raves. He doesn’t think about it,” said McCommons, who said his opinion of Trump has changed for the worse, in large part because of his tweeting. “I think he can do a lot better things with his time.”
McCommons said he now regrets his vote, going so far as to tweet at Trump, “Your twitter rants are out of control - I voted for you to make America great again, run the country sir!”
It’s not Twitter, It’s the topic
It’s a common theme among these Trump supporters: they wish the President would stick to the theme of leading the country.
“He needs to tone it down and forget about Snoop Dogg, forget about Arnold Schwarzenegger. We don’t really care about them, do we?” said Ray Starner, who always wanted to see a businessman lead the country. Now, Starner said he would prefer to see Trump focus on jobs, health care and uniting the country.
Also taking a toll on Trump’s base? Baseless accusations.
Several supporters expressed disappointment at Trump for tweeting before he has all the facts, including his tweet, “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during this sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
Mark Hanna is a former law enforcement officer who follows the news, but not all of Trump’s tweets. When he saw media reports about the wire tapping accusations, he said: “Even if he felt that way, I don’t think he should have tweeted it.”
Trump’s tweets offer some insight into the President’s thinking and the man himself, and his use of social media can even supplement mainstream media.
Checking Twitter became a regular part of McCommon’s day, he said. “It used to be my favorite thing to do in the morning because I wanted to see what he had to say. I wanted to see if it matched up with what I heard on TV, from the news media, from his press conferences, to see if he was being honest.”
While supporters might not trust everything the President tweets, they generally have faith in Trump himself.
It was just last Thanksgiving that Hanna heard of Twitter for the first time. By the evening’s end, his son had set up a Twitter account for him.
“My first tweet was to Donald Trump, at the dinner table. I said ‘Congratulations on winning the election, and I’m looking forward to you leading our country,’” Hanna said.
It’s a sentiment he still holds.
“The good far outweighs the bad to me,” Hanna said. “I’m thinking Trump 2020.”