Tracking Trump’s tangled trade war tweets

January 11, 2019

Understanding political narratives is not always easy. Events often develop with many twists and turns but situations can be further exacerbated when politicians are seen to change their minds as often as the wind changes direction. The following is a visual thread of comments made by US President Donald Trump about the trade war with China.

Over the past year, the sentiment of President Trump's statements pertaining to the trade war with China has varied widely. We tracked his tweets and comments since March 7, 2018, indicating which called for an escalation of tariffs and which implied optimism about striking a deal

Same day tweets 0 -5 -4 -3 -2 5 4 3 2 -1 1 Continue trade war Neutral uncertain Optimistic for a deal TWEET TEXT RATING Mar. 27 US releases “Section 301 Report” criticising china’s trade practices May 3 Steven Mnuchin leads trade talks in Beijing which end with no statement May 17 Vice Premier Liu He visits DC with Chinese delegation for trade talks May 29 US announces intention to go ahead with tariffs on US$50b Jun. 6 US and China implement tariffs on US$34b Aug. 23 US and China implement tariffs on US$16b Sept. 24 US implements tariffs on US$200b. China implements tariffs on US$60b Nov. 1 Presidents Trump and Xi talk by phone Dec. 1 Trump and Xi meet in Buenos Aires following G20 Apr. 7 May 4 Mar. 7, 2018 May 14 May 17 May 21 May 23 Jul. 25 Aug. 15 Aug. 29 Sep. 7 May 22 Sep. 13 Sep. 18 Sep. 26 Jul. 24 Aug. 4 Apr. 8 Apr. 9 Apr. 10 May 1 May 15 May 16 Nov. 1 Nov. 7 Nov. 29 Dec. 3 Dec. 5 Dec. 6 Dec. 7 Dec. 11 Jan. 8 Dec. 14 Dec. 29 Jan. 3, 2019 Dec. 4 May 2 May 8 May13

How we rate the tweets and comments

We mined President Trump’s Twitter account for comments made about the trade war over the past year. We also added some comments he made from the White House and on board Air Force One for additional context

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Each tweet is ranked according to the content of the statement. A score of -5 indicates he is hostile and wants to step up tariffs, while +5 shows he is optimistic and eager to cut a deal with China. The tweets and comments are shown chronologically and linked to the original source

People’s support

If we consider the number of likes on Twitter to be a metric implying which end of the spectrum is more popular with the general public we can see tweets looking for a deal are becoming increasingly popular

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