If there’s been any constant, enduring source of drama and controversy throughout the 2016 presidential race, it’s been the Twitter feed of Republican nominee Donald Trump. His notoriously testy social media presence, laden with personal insults, sweeping generalizations, and aggressive braggadocio has gotten him into more than a few costly scrapes throughout the campaign, with his late-night rage-tweeting about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado serving as a prime example.
But now, in the final days of his candidacy, it’s been seeming like something’s changed, with scant few tweets in Trump’s usually stilted, semi-incoherent style. And, according The New York Times, that makes a lot of sense. The Trump campaign has reportedly seized control of his Twitter account for the final stretch of the campaign, convincing him to give up control of his feed to prevent any more self-destructive blow-ups in the closing stretch.
It shouldn’t come as much surprise that the Trump campaign’s higher-ups would want to separate their candidate from his Twitter handle, where he can blast out whatever’s on his mind to a follower base of more than 13 million people (although millions of them are fake accounts).
In the past, he’s sparked controversy for reacting gloatingly to national tragedies―tweeting “thanks for the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism” after the deadly Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando ― and personal tragedies, too.
In August Nykea Aldridge, the cousin of star NBA guard Dwyane Wade, was slain in the crossfire of a shooting in Chicago. Trump tried to take political advantage of the shooting, tweeting “Dwayne Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!” In addition to expressing no sympathy or remorse over Aldridge’s death, and not even naming her, he misspelled Wade’s first name.
He subsequently deleted that tweet and re-posted it with the spelling fixed, and hours later, a tweet that sounded decidedly less like the real Trump expressed some condolences.
These are but a few of the truly self-destructive incidents that Trump caused for himself thanks to his penchant for no-filter tweeting, but the full litany is much longer. The New York Times actually has a running tally of all the Twitter insults he’s directed at people, places, and things since the start of his campaign. As of October 23rd, it stood at 282. Simply put, if Trump somehow manages to win this thing, it sounds like he’ll at least partially have a social media intervention to thank for it.