Media Matters’ exhaustive study of Donald Trump’s 2019 Fox tweets show not just how intertwined Trump is with his favorite networks but also how much time he must spend shirking the real work of a president.
The study reveals some shocking, yet not very surprising statistics about Trump’s Fox obsession: In 2019, Trump tweeted in response to Fox News or Fox Business programs at least 657 times, nearly 10% of his total tweets. That's almost two live tweets per day about Fox. He sent at least one Fox live tweet on 202 days.
Also not surprisingly, Media Matters’ study revealed that Trump used some of his live Fox tweets to shape his political narrative. But the tweets also strongly hint that Trump chooses to watch TV or golf over doing his job:
At other times, Trump’s Fox live-tweeting seems to indicate that the president is being distracted from his duties by his television. As Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm, bore down on the U.S. coastline in late August and early September, Trump sent more than 20 Fox live tweets covering topics that ranged from the FBI’s purported “coup” against him to the “very successful Trade battle with China” to criticisms of his presidency by the actor Debra Messing. Before leaving for a nuclear summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, the president turned on Fox & Friends and tweeted about film director Spike Lee. While flying between Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, where he was to comfort grieving families of victims of recent mass shootings, he watched Fox and lashed out at former Vice President Joe Biden and then-Fox host Shepard Smith.
The timing of some of Trump’s live tweets suggests an unwillingness to turn off the television. He seems to have watched Fox and sent tweets in response on New Year’s Day and Christmas Day; fired off two live tweets on the evening of Valentine’s Day and nine the morning of January 22, his wedding anniversary; and neglected to wish his adult daughter Tiffany a happy birthday on Twitter while sending Fox live tweets that day quoting Greg Gutfeld and attacking Chris Wallace.
Then there’s this:
Trump tweets on weekdays more frequently than on weekends. Trump live-tweets Fox shows that air on weekdays, when previous presidents have been tightly scheduled, more frequently than he does those that air on weekends, when he often plays golf. He sent 513 Fox live tweets of weekday shows, averaging two live tweets per weekday, compared to 144 Fox live tweets of weekend shows, or 1.4 per weekend day.
It's not that we didn't already have indications that Trump cares more about TV than doing the work he's getting paid public money to do, but these numbers paint a more damning picture of Trump's priorities than we previously had.
I highly recommend reading the complete report.
You can watch Gertz discuss his findings below, on CNN’s January 19, 2020 Reliable Sources.