A presidential twitter library might only last for a weekend, reminded Daily Showhost Trevor Noah tonight, but tweets? They’re forever.
LA Times reports — Donald Trump has only been president for five months, but he’s already got a presidential library. Sort of.
This weekend in New York, “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” is presenting a pop-up museum, the Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library, an ambitious piece of interactive political satire chronicling his social media misadventures.
“Say what you want about Donald Trump. He may not be good at presidenting or reading or geopolitics, but he is a damn fine Twitterer, probably the best that ever lived,” said Noah on Thursday at an unveiling of the temporary installation, which is open through Sunday at 3 W. 57th St. in Manhattan, about 150 paces from Trump Tower.
Minutes after the museum opened to the public Friday morning, a line of visitors snaked down 57th Street. Many stopped
to snap a photo of a sculpture in the entryway depicting a pair of tiny orange hands holding a smartphone before passing a welcome video in which Noah warned that the library was “not suitable for small children or people with heart conditions.” Once inside, they received their new nicknames from the Trump nickname generator (“Manic Meredith” here) and wrote them on nametags.
At 11:12 a.m., an alarm sounded: The president had tweeted again. A screen at the rear of the library showed his latest 140-character-or-less missive. “Great news! #MAGA,” read the tweet, which included a graphic touting a Rasmussen poll showing a 50% approval rating for Trump (most others show him at around 40% or lower).
The idea for the library emerged a few months ago during a “Daily Show” writers’ room conversation “about all the strange things it would mean to have a person like Trump in the Oval Office,” says executive producer Steve Bodow. “Presidents get presidential libraries. That seems especially opposite of who Donald Trump is. Well, maybe his library would just be full of tweets.”
What began as an offhand joke has resulted, four months later, in a library that works on both a comedic and scholarly level. As the opening wall text promises, the museum will “explore the history, science and art of Trump’s tweets – from his earliest attempts to put stubby fingers to phone to his emergence as our era’s preeminent social media revolutionary.”
Throughout the library, some of Trump’s most infamous tweets – including this, this and this – are displayed in gilded frames. Exhibits examine different aspects of Trump’s digital musings, including his feuds with other celebrities, his tortured relationship with Diet Coke and (who could forget?) his tireless promotion of birtherism.
The library provides a stark reminder of some of Trump’s interests before he launched his presidential campaign in 2015, such as his curious – and still unexplained – fixation with “Twilight” stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, circa 2012.
“He’s been so prolific over so many years and has written so many things that you can’t possibly hold them all in your head,” Bodow says. “And you go, ‘Oh, yeah, these things were all written by the guy who is president of the United States,’ which is a simple declarative statement, but also astonishing.
The gallery also has a strong interactive component. Visitors can craft their own inflammatory tweets on a giant magnetic board. “The crown jewel of the library,” according to executive producer Jennifer Flanz, is a mock Oval Office, where people can put on a bathrobe and Trump wig and tweet from a golden toilet.
Some nondigital artifacts are also present, including the multitiered, slightly dilapidated, plastic foam cake from Trump’s inauguration – yes, the actual one – which was donated to “The Daily Show” by a mystery benefactor
Beneath the spirit of satire is a serious amount of research. A projected graphic exhaustively traces Trump’s Twitter activity, from a mere 56 tweets in 2009 to a peak of 9,182 tweets in 2015.
As with any satire, the key is in getting the details just right, and “The Daily Show” has made this presidential library feel like just that. They’ve even nailed the museum-speak. A placard describes Trump’s inaugural cake, an almost identical replica of President Obama’s in 2013, as a “bold act of Warhol-like appropriation.” A retrospective video, narrated by “The Daily Show” correspondent Jordan Klepper, plays on a loop. All that’s missing is the gift shop selling tote bags
“Giving it that voice was an important part of making it feel like a real institution,” Bodow says, “even if it’s only up for three days.” (There is talk of taking the library on the road.)
As for what the real Donald J. Trump Presidential Library might one day look like, “I am sure there will be lots of television,” Bodow says.
— Maeve McDermott (@maeve_mcdermott) June 15, 2017