Exactly 365 days ago, Donald Trump shocked the world by beating Hillary Clinton and winning the White House.
He’s spent the last 364 days reminding people of that fact. So, what better way to commemorate the one-year anniversary of his win than with a self-congratulatory tweet from halfway around the world!
“Congratulations to all of the ‘DEPLORABLES’ and the millions of people who gave us a MASSIVE (304-227) Electoral College landslide victory!” Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon. (It was roughly 2:30 a.m. in Beijing – where Trump is at the moment – when the tweet went out, suggesting it was a pre-programmed tweet from someone on his team.)
And this is the photo that accompanied the tweet:
There’s so much here (and I’m not going to even get into the incredibly odd capitalization decisions that Trump makes or or the distinctive “thumbs up” gesture). The tweet and the photo – really the whole presentation – tell you everything you need to know about the Donald’s first year in office.
Here’s what you can learn.
1. He’s still talking about the election!
Yes, I know that it’s the one-year anniversary of his win. And, yes, I know it was a big deal. But, can you imagine if Barack Obama sent out a tweet to commemorate the one-year anniversary of his election win – complete with the electoral vote count? Or George W. Bush did the same? You can’t because they wouldn’t. Because they would believe that reminding people of their election wouldn’t be presidential. (Yes, I am aware that Obama told Sen. John McCain “we’re not campaigning anymore … the election’s over” in February 2010. That strikes me as something very different than this tweet.) Trump has changed what we expect out of our presidents in ways big and small since winning. Bragging about how you won is one of those changes.
2. He totally ignores what happened on Tuesday night
Republicans got blasted in the 2017 elections. And, in virtually every case – the New Jersey gubernatorial race being the lone exception – you can draw a straight line between Trump’s unpopularity and Republican losses. Trump has made a habit in his political life (and his regular life) of ignoring facts he doesn’t like and, instead, telling himself the story in which he is always the hero, always the winner. That’s what he’s doing here.
3. He leans in on ‘deplorables’
Trump has never seemed to grasp that there is a difference between campaigning for the Republican nomination or even the presidency and actually being president. That, as president, your job is to represent the entire country – not just the people who voted for you. Trump has, from his first day in office, almost exclusively focused on the people who voted for him. (The “deplorables” reference comes from a Clinton comment that half of Trump’s supporters fit into a “basket of deplorables.”) That he chooses to not only use the word “deplorables” but put it into all caps for emphasis (I think?) tells you just how little he understands how past presidents have worked to put political campaigns behind them when they are actually in office.
4. He loves optics
Trump is on Air Force One in the picture. He’s sitting at a desk. Papers are strewn in front of him. The people who work for him are standing behind him like a basketball team behind its captain. The group thumbs-up. (I know I promised I wouldn’t mention it. But it’s too good!) It’s all carefully orchestrated to say: “This guy is the President. He’s in charge. And things are going great!”
5. He’s not big on the whole diversity thing
There are four white guys and a white woman in the picture. Actually, five white guys and a woman – if you count Trump. They are – from left to right – Trump’s personal aide John McEntee, social media guru Dan Scavino, senior adviser (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner, policy maven Stephen Miller and communications director Hope Hicks. And, yes, Trump.
For someone who is very interested on how things look (see point No. 4 above) and who insists that he gets a bad wrap when it comes to diversity, it’s an odd choice to formally celebrate his election victory with a bunch of white dudes – and Hope Hicks.
All that from a single tweet.
CORRECTION: This story initially misidentified a person in the photo as White House staff secretary Rob Porter. The person in the photo is Trump’s personal aide John McEntee.