Is That Really Donald Trump on Twitter or Just an Intern?

Donald Trump Says He is the Hemingway of Twitter

Donald Trump
Some Republicans believed Donald Trump's unlikely 2016 presidential campaign was a Democratic ploy to make other GOP candidates look bad. Jason Davis / Getty Images Stringer

We all know how much Donald Trump loves Twitter. The 2016 president-elect uses Twitter to thank his supporters, trash his enemies and even flame some of his critics. You do not want to be on the losing end of a Twitter war with The Donald.

"I like it because I can get also my point of view out there, and my point of view is very important to a lot of people that are looking at me," Trump has said of the microblogging platform.

“Somebody said I’m the Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters,” Trump has claimed.

But does Trump really tweet himself? Or does a member of his staff handle Twitter for him, much the way other politicians and celebrities hire paid media experts and public-relations pros to handle their social media presence and carefully craft the messaging? 

As with many things about Trump, there's no clear answer.

Is That Really Trump On Twitter?

At first blush, you think: Of course that's him. Look at the stream of tweets. It's got Trump's fingertips all over it, the bravado, the insults, the self-congratulation. Journalists profiling Trump have also made note of his addiction to picking fights on Twitter.

Wrote The Wall Street Journal:

"Mr. Trump doesn’t use a computer. He relies on his smartphone to tweet jabs and self-promotion, often late into the night, from a chaise longue in his bedroom suite in front of a flat-screen TV."

So, yes, he tweets. Himself. At least sometimes.

Read on.

Or Was It Just A Handler Or Intern?

There is evidence, too, that Trump has used someone else to manage his Twitter account. For example, there are tweets in the third-person. For example, a 2012 tweet from Trump's account reads:

"The Apprentice was the #1 show on television last season on Sunday from 10 to 11 --- congratulations Donald!"

Would Trump really refer to himself in the third-person? Probably not. But who knows?

And there's a profile of Trump's media handler, Hope Hicks, from The Washington Post that suggests the candidate sometimes dictates his tweets to staffers who then post them.

Reports The Post:

"On his plane, Trump flips through cable channels, reads news articles in hard copy, and makes offhanded comments. He's throwing out his signature bombastic, sometimes offensive tweets. Hicks takes dictation and sends the words to aides somewhere in the Trump empire, who send them out to the world."

So Trump doesn't always tweet himself. Trump himself claims his interns have access to the @realDonaldTrump account. And the interns have occasionally gotten Trump into trouble, according to the candidate.

Such was the case when a tweet from Trump's account criticized voters of Iowa who supported Republican rival Ben Carson. "Too much Monsanto in the corn creates issues in the brain?" the tweet read.

Trump later apologized. Actually, Trump said his intern apologized.

"The young intern who accidentally did a Retweet apologizes," Trump wrote (we think).

Does It Matter?

An analysis of Trump's tweets and the devices used to send them by Mother Jones concluded that very few - the magazine claimed only 3 percent - came from the candidate himself.

The rest were dictated or sent by an intern, it reported.

But who cares? The words belong to Trump whether he tapped the letters out on his phone or not. He thought them, or at the very least dictated them to an intern or staffer. It's clear from his willingness to engage in Twitter wars and spew insults and occasionally offensive comments that Trump isn't beholden to a media handler.

Trump's Twitter is vintage Trump, for better or for worse.