The Slatest

I Think I Know Why Trump Faved That Tweet About Rihanna

Rihanna and Donald Trump
Why? Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Diamond Ball and Alex Wong/Getty Images.

At 12:40 a.m. on Monday, in the year of our Lord 2019, President Donald J. Trump “liked” the following tweet, perhaps suggesting that he, too, stans a work-life balance queen.

It’s not the first tweet Trump has liked, and as of this morning it appears to have been unliked. This is not uncommon for Trump, and thanks to the Twitter bot @Trumpsalert (which tracks Trump-world Twitter activity), we can see the dozens of tweets liked by the president over the past few years. Just like the Rihanna tweet, the majority of them have been removed from the president’s faves.

Conventional wisdom holds that, as Trump scrolls through the fetid grease pit that lives inside his phone, he hits a heart or two by accident, hence the later un-faving. But to like a tweet by accident, you need to scroll past it. I checked, and not a single one of the 47 people Donald Trump follows interacted with @heavenrants’ tweet in any way—no favs, no retweets. So what, exactly, is Donald Trump doing on Twitter?

The first thing we need to establish is whether Trump’s thumbs are doing the faving. There is at least one other person who semi-regularly tweets from the @RealDonaldTrump account: White House social media director and former Trump caddy Dan Scavino. Anytime you see a Trump tweet with a photo or video in it, it’s from Scavino. And thanks to an unhealthy level of observation on my part, I feel fairly confident that Scavino retweets the vast majority of his Trump tweets to his own Twitter account. Scavino did not, however, retweet the @RealDonaldTrump tweet that went out just 12 minutes before the Rihanna fave in question. So we can assume that our big presidential boy was running the show all by himself that night.

So how did Trump find the tweet? A quick search reveals that Rihanna was trending on Twitter around the time Trump was prodding at his phone.

Now, the vast majority of soon-to-be 73-year-olds probably would not be able to find Twitter’s trending topics, much less even know what they are. This is not the case with Donald Trump.

It makes sense that at some point he’d have asked some aide to show him how the feature works. He’s obsessed with ratings, and what are trending topics but ratings he can check constantly in real time?

Often when something is trending on Twitter, the site will throw up the most recent related Twitter “Moment,” a page with a curated selection of tweets. Meaning that, if Trump had checked Twitter’s trending topics and absent-mindedly clicked on Rihanna’s name, he likely would have seen this staring back at him:

The Rihanna Twitter moment posted on Monday.
The Rihanna Twitter moment posted on Monday. Twitter

As we well know, our president is furiously, pathologically horny. It would be shocking if Trump hadn’t clicked on this photo of Rihanna while making a series of steamboat noises and sweating profusely.

Scroll down through the Twitter Moment for a bit, and you’ll find none other than Heben Nigatu’s tweet. After all that sweat and honking, even the most dexterous of Twitter users couldn’t be faulted for a thumb slip.

Perhaps this seems like a stretch. There’s no way Trump is scrolling through random Twitter moments, a skeptic might say. In which case, let’s take a look at another apparent accidental fav.

On Jan. 18 of this year, Trump liked this tweet from Shazam’s account:

This one is particularly weird, because the Shazam tweet in question was actually several months old. How could he have come across such a thing?

Because on Jan. 18, Twitter posted this Moment, which prominently featured a photo of Katy Perry. On his phone, Trump would have seen something like this:

A Twitter Moment featuring a photo of Katy Perry.
A Twitter Moment featuring a photo of Katy Perry. Twitter

The photo is attributed to none other than @Shazam. Click the link, and you’ll be brought to that several-months-old tweet that Trump had inexplicably faved. And our president’s ever-damp thumbs did the rest.

Now that we know how Trump came to discover the Rihanna tweet, two questions remain. Why is our president scrolling through Twitter Moments featuring beautiful young celebrities in the early morning hours? And is he wearing his robe while he does this? As for the first, it’s impossible to know for sure, but as for the second, almost certainly, emphatically, yes.