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Who does Trump follow on Twitter? (Hint: Practically no one)

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Donald J. Trump is famous for his tweets on @POTUS, which reach 21.9 million of his followers. That’s a lot, although it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the man Trump hates and is most jealous of, Barack Obama, who has 99.3 million followers.

Obama follows about 625,000 people on Twitter, but Trump follows only a measly 41. Which makes sense, when you think about it: this is a man who doesn’t care about others, only about himself, which is the classic definition of a narcissist.

So who are those 41 people or groups Trump follows? Here they are, Dear Reader.

The majority are his Cabinet departments and other Federal agencies: State, Labor, Homeland Security, Education, U.S. trade Representative, Health & Human Services, Agriculture, Defense, Justice, Interior, Veterans Affairs, Commerce, Treasury, Small Business Administration, Energy, United Nations Mission, Transportation, EPA and NASA. I don’t imagine Trump actually reads any of them: their content is mostly press releases. But it’s a sign of respect for him to follow them, and his partisan political censors read them to make sure they’re toeing the official party line and not deviating.

Trump also follows his favorite people, starting with Eric Bolling, who was fired from Fox News last summer “for sending lewd messages to colleagues,” but who remains one of Trump’s most ardent defenders on his own Twitter page.

Among other individuals Trump follows are his Cabinet secretaries and employees, including Nikki Haley, Steven Mnuchin, Elaine Chao (Mitch McConnell’s wife), Ryan Zinke, Ben Carson, Rick Perry, David Shulkin, Scott Pruitt, Wilbur Ross, the Office of the Cabinet, Dan Scavino, Reince Priebus (will Trump unfollow him if Reince provides damaging testimony to Mueller?), Kellyanne Conway, The White House, Mike Pence, Karen Pence (Mike’s wife), Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Office of the Vice President and, last but not least, his own wife, Melania. Again, the Twitter pages of these individuals contain practically nothing but press releases, soft news and feel-good photos (Melania blowing a kiss in a Santa Claus hat).

Again, it’s hard to imagine Trump actually reading them, although his surrogates scan them for political incorrectness.

We know that Trump spends most of his time watching television, particularly Fox “News,” and particularly Fox and Friends, whose Twitter feed, reliably pushing the extreme rightwing agenda of Rupert Murdoch, consists almost entirely of nonstop attacks on Democrats, as does the T.V. show itself. Has either the Twitter feed or the T.V. show ever mentioned Trump’s sexual scandals—the 19 women accusing him of improper conduct, the Access Hollywood tape, Stormy Daniels and the secret payoff? The Fox way, you see, is to jump onto every Democratic sex scandal (they still having fun with Anthony Weiner), but never, ever to talk about Trump’s. And when Republicans use Fox as their main, or only, source of news—which many of them do—they may not even be aware that their president stands accused of the same things as Harvey Weinstein.

And there you are. Trump follows 41 people, and it’s almost a certainty that he reads nothing of their actual Twitter feeds.

Social media is supposed to further conversation, to allow people to communicate and share ideas. But Trump doesn’t use Twitter the way most people do. It’s a one-way street: he tells everybody what he’s thinking, and couldn’t care less about their views. This is what you’d expect from an incurious, insecure man who seeks validation and publicity, whose capacity for love seems to be to be limited to basking in the glow of digital friends whom Trump, a germaphobe who hates to shake hands, doesn’t have to be physically close to.

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