The world reacted in real time on social media as Christine Blasey Ford began a searing, emotional round of testimony about the day Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her. Some said they were crying with her, others praised her courage. But on the country’s most famous Twitter feed, the tone was markedly different.
While Ford spoke, several of the 47 accounts President Trump currently follows on Twitter — family members, Trump properties and conservative commentators — offered up skeptical quips about her testimony, picking apart what they saw as inconsistencies and insinuating her statements were false. Others pilloried the premise of the hearing itself, accusing Democratic senators of smearing Kavanaugh for political gain. Still other accounts were talking about anything but the hearings.
As Ford’s testimony concluded, Fox News show host Laura Ingraham tweeted a sentiment echoed by many of the other accounts Trump follows: that “Dems know that this isn’t about facts.”
The president Twitter account is, along with cable news shows, one of his primary sources of information, and nearly all of what he sees there is seemingly curated to shine a favorable hue on him and his presidency — and, in this case, his nominee to the Supreme Court.
Reading through Trump’s Twitter offers a window into the information bubble that surrounds the president, and is especially revealing during his administration’s most harrowing hours. To that end, Washington Post reporter Philip Bump built a Twitter account called @trumps_feed that re-creates what Trump sees when he opens Twitter.
Just as Ford’s testimony ended, conservative commentator Ann Coulter enumerated the list of reasons Ford didn’t convince her and wrote that the timeline Ford laid out was “B.S.”
As Kavanaugh began his own emotional, fiery testimony, the accounts on Trump’s feed turned their attention to the nominee and to the Democratic senators preparing to question him. Speaking for 45 minutes, Kavanaugh decried his confirmation process as a “national disgrace” and accused Democrats of seeking to “blow me up and take me down.”
“You have replaced ‘advise and consent’ with ‘search and destroy,’ ” Kavanaugh said.
The Twitter account of the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., often brings hard-line views to his father’s feed, retweeting commentators who Trump himself does not follow and offering full-throated attacks on Trump’s political foes. As Kavanaugh spoke, Trump Jr. wrote that Democrats “don’t have any honor or shame.”
Trump himself, apparently, was “riveted” by Kavanaugh’s fierce defense against the allegations, telling those around him, “This is why I nominated him,” reported The Post’s Robert Costa.
It’s unclear whether Trump followed Ford’s testimony as closely. But if he logged onto Twitter to catch up, it might take some sifting to find a video clip of the California professor’s testimony. While she spoke, Trump’s feed was mostly insulated from an event some regarded as “a disaster for Republicans.”
Instead, on top of withering criticism of Ford and Democrats, Trump would have been treated to a familiar view — pleasing and serene — of one of his seaside golf courses.
And, of course, whatever it was that the Drudge Report’s account happened to be tweeting at the time.
After the hearing, Trump jumped on Twitter to praise Kavanaugh’s “powerful, honest, and riveting” testimony, attack the Democrats, and call the Senate to vote on the nominee.