Trump’s ‘digital diplomacy’

Trump’s ‘digital diplomacy’

President Donald Trump makes his first visit to the UK this Friday 13th July. Controversial and divisive at home and abroad, Trump’s presidency has set new precedents in terms of the behaviour expected from a politician. One of the ways in which he has broken new ground is his use of Twitter to communicate his messages directly to his supporters.

The efficacy of this tactic was well documented on the campaign trail. His ability to bypass, and undermine, traditional media channels was undoubtedly one of the reasons he was such an effective political campaigner.

However the office of the presidency brings with it a new set of responsibilities. As Trump has made the transition from candidate to President (and become the US’s representative on the world stage) his use of Twitter has taken on new significance. His online spats with other world leaders – from Kim Jong-Un to Justin Trudeau – are well documented. But how has Trump’s ‘digital diplomacy’ gone down with politicians in the UK?

Portland has analysed all 4,032 tweets made by British MPs mentioning Donald Trump since his inauguration on January 20th 2017 until June 18th 2018, four weeks before his expected arrival, to see what impact this bombastic President has had on the ‘special relationship’.


  • Less than 4% of MP tweets about Trump are positive. Overall British MPs are negative towards President Trump, with 57.8% of all mentions being negative towards him or his policies and views. 38.6% of all mentions were neutral, and 3.6% were positive.
  • The DUP tended the have the most positive views (3.2% negative, 59.7% positive). 74.1% of posts from Lib Dem MPs were negative towards President Trump and his views or policies and 0% were positive.  62.9% of posts from Labour MPs were negative, and 0.3% were positive.

Most engaged with topics

  • 17% of mentions of President Trump were around his upcoming visit to the UK. 15.7% were around social inequality (or any mentions of gender and racial equality, LGBT+ rights, and religion), and 10.6% were around his leadership and general presidential behaviour.

Most engaged with Tweets mentioning Trump

  • First prize – Sajid Javid: The post most retweeted by MPs was originally shared by the then Communities Secretary Sajid Javid which decried President’s Trump apparent support for Britain First.

  • Runner up – Jeremy Corbyn: The second most retweeted posts by MPs was one originally shared by the Labour Leader. The post also condemned the President for retweeting content from Britain First, and called for the Government to act.

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