This May Be Donald Trump's Funniest Tweet Yet, But He Probably Wasn't Trying To Be Funny
Donald Trump is a notoriously voracious tweeter. Over the course of his six years on Twitter, he’s said plenty of inane, controversial, petty, and downright odd things. But on Friday, the Donald outdid himself. It may be Trump’s funniest tweet yet, in fact. However, he almost certainly wasn’t trying to be funny when he wrote it.
Trump spent a good portion of the Republican primary bragging about how good his poll numbers were, and in fairness, his performance in opinion surveys was genuinely impressive. But this hasn’t been the case since he clinched the GOP’s nomination: Trump has consistently trailed presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in general election matchups.
On Friday, Trump tweeted out a new Gravis/OAN poll of the presidential race. “THANK YOU! #AmericaFirst,” he wrote in triumph. You might assume that this poll showed Trump would defeating Clinton in the general election. It must have! Otherwise, why would Trump be drawing attention to it? That simply wouldn’t make any sense.
However, this would be an incorrect assumption. The poll that Trump tweeted out actually had him trailing Clinton in a general election by two points. That’s right: Trump bragged about a poll in which he was the unambiguous loser.
There are really only two ways to make sense of this. Either Trump is intentionally trying to lose this election by making himself look as incompetent as possible — a possibility that I honestly can’t dismiss out of hand — or he was just being careless. Very, very careless. Neither explanation makes him look very good.
It would be an embarrassing mistake for any politician to make, but it’s doubly embarrassing for Trump. After all, this is the man who spent almost a year making his dominance in the polls a central component of his campaign. The fact that he’s been unable to translate his polling success in the primary to the general election is bad enough; now, he’s boasting about polls that he has no reason to be boasting about.
To be fair, Trump did do better in that Gravis/OAN poll than he normally does. According to HuffPost Pollster, Trump trails Clinton by an average of 6.4 points. RealClearPolitics’ polling average puts Clinton ahead by 5.8 points on average. From that perspective, a two-point deficit isn’t half-bad.
Oddly enough, Trump admitted Friday in an interview with the New York Times that he is indeed trailing in the polls. He justified it on the grounds that he hasn’t “started yet” — an odd comment, given that he clinched the nomination over a month ago. It’s possible that Trump will only consider the election having “started” once he has a lead in the polls. If that’s the case, he could be waiting a while.