Trump's understanding of the coronavirus is being manipulated by the people he follows on Twitter: report
President Donald Trump on Sunday threatened yet more "major retaliation" if Tehran hits back, including on Iranian cultural sites. (AFP/File / JIM WATSON)

On Saturday, Politico published a deep dive into the kinds of messages President Donald Trump is receiving about the coronavirus pandemic on Twitter.


"The president follows only 47 accounts on Twitter, a collection of family members, conservative pundits, administration officials and Trump-brand properties," wrote Jordan Muller. "Even as health experts and mainstream reporters have grown increasingly anxious about the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic — and have taken to using their own Twitter accounts to share hand-washing videos and urgent warnings from doctors overseas — when Trump opens his own Twitter feed, he scrolls through something very different."

The major messages on Trump's feed say that China should be taking the blame for the outbreak; that the president is doing a great job but that former Vice President Joe Biden would do horribly; and that the media is to blame for blowing everything out of proportion.

"While Trump has come under increased pressure to respond more forcefully to the outbreak, his allies have taken to Twitter to frame the coronavirus as a foreign threat that spiraled out of control because of a bungled international response," wrote Muller. "'Remember, China initially REFUSED to allow the CDC into Wuhan,' conservative activist and conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec said in a post retweeted into the president’s feed by his son Donald Jr."

As another example: "Critique of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis is largely absent from his Twitter feed. Instead, his allies have heaped praise on the administration’s response. 'Deeply impressive extraordinary partnership of America’s best and brightest business & government gathered at White House under leadership of @realDonaldTrump & @VP,' tweeted Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera after Friday’s national emergency declaration. 'They and we are going to kick #Corona’s ass.'"

The report continued: "The president’s eldest son, Donald Jr., has led the Trump Twitterverse’s charge against the mainstream press’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. In his posts and retweets, he’s accused news outlets of stoking panic and helping China spread propaganda. 'That the US media is trying to run with the Chinese propaganda that ‘China bought us time’ is a new low even for them,' Donald Jr. tweeted in response to a New York Times op-ed. 'F-you!'"

Ultimately, Trump's Twitter feed is telling Trump to be proud of how he's handled the crisis — and to blame a number of scapegoats for what can't be sold as a victory.