Tracking the "Trump Is A Comment Section Running for President" Joke

Donald Trump joined Twitter in March 2009, and announced his presidential campaign on June 16. Since then, if you’ve spent any time on Twitter, you’ve probably seen some variation of this joke:

This incarnation by Brian Gaar was posted last week, and got over 36,000 retweets.

But he’s hardly the first. Literally thousands of people have posted this sentiment, and I’ve personally seen several in my timeline with thousands of retweets.

Which got me thinking, who was the first and how did it evolve?

Let’s go back in reverse-chronological order, hitting some of the most popular versions.

On December 8, the day after Brian Gaar’s tweet last week, New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz got over 1,400 RTs with the same idea, this time adding an image.

Many people saw it from this tweet on November 22 by @mamasnark, which got over 10,200 retweets. (I see several people citing this tweet as the original when it reappears now.)

On November 10, Jon Stewart appeared at the Stand Up for Heroes benefit at Madison Square Garden and said, “It’s like an Internet comment troll ran for president.” This quote got extensive coverage from publications like the Hollywood Reporter, MSNBC, and Huffington Post.

Four days earlier, on November 6, Keith Olbermann appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher and said that Trump “sounds like an Internet comments section running for President.”

On August 7, Marc Andreesen tweeted it as an overheard comment, getting over 2,500 retweets.

On July 18, Barbara Haynes got over 13,000 RTs with this tweet that used the #DonaldTrump hashtag.

On July 14, a Daily Kos blogger wrote, “Donald Trump is what would happen if a reddit comment thread ran for office.” This quote was picked up on Twitter.

On July 8, The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi got more than 2,700 retweets for her take on it.

Only a single day after Trump announced his presidency, on June 17, a Twitter user in Johannesburg drew a parallel to the News24 comments section and tweeted the idea — though as a reply and with no retweets, it was likely only seen by her 332 followers that also follow Trump.

But, of course, the idea that Trump is an Internet comments section goes back long before he announced his candidacy.

On April 28, this similar joke got 357 retweets.

On February 27, this minimalist take from @lafix for nearly 350 retweets.

How far back does this joke go? The earliest incarnation of the “Internet comment personified” idea on Twitter is this tweet by a guy named Mark on April 27, 2011.

So, did all these people rip off Mark?

No, of course not. I’ve written about the phenomenon of multiple discovery before, and nowhere is it more obvious and easily provable than in the comedy world, and especially easy to document on Twitter.

As Donald Trump came online, and as his prominence in the public eye grew, many more people started thinking about his behavior.

Of course, there are plagiarists in the world who brazenly copy jokes on Twitter, Instagram, and elsewhere, sometimes resulting in huge audiences.

But most people simply drew the connection between garbage Internet comment sections and the way Trump acts, and tweeted their epiphany.

So, settle in. It’s going to be a long year.

Want many more examples? Oscar Bartos made @trump_comment, a bot dedicated to retweeting examples of this meme, and self-referential takes like this one.

Did I miss any major examples? Post a comment or tweet at me.


    I wonder how far the joke goes… who was the first person described as a human comments section?

    This is how things should read after donald looses his bid for Pres.

    Glad to see that Donald J. Trump lost his Bid last night. Was soundly beaten – not a nice person! (same words he said when Rousey lost)In fact a really terrible person that should be put on an island and left there with a soccer ball as only companion, because that is how much his behavior is with everyone he talks about…if left up to him, NOBODY would get to come to the USA, even his granddaddy from Germany, what a wimp ass bitch !! Thinks he is a superior race but he is a German MUT!! Whose ancestries were pimps/gamblers and opium dealers in Alaska, what a crock that anyone who would vote for him, they would have to be deaf/blind/ and ultimately stupid..To not hear/see/ understand what a sham he is…He would kill us All with the push of THE button when he didn’t get his way…

    Would have “made America a wreck”, as in bring it to full tilt WWIII….

    Every day Trump’s lies to the American people.. He has no idea to what it takes to be a President..He is a typical school yard bully.. calling people names degrading people etc… He can’t even be honest about his taxes.. His self-esteem is so low that his only outlet is to ridicule and insult others..

    If he is as elected President, his head will become the size of the moon.. I’ll de damned if his head isn’t enormous now.. lol.. He will be a dictator and begin provoke to our allies.. We will end up in war..

    He needs a new Lego kit and building blocks, sit in the corner and play…

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