In 2014, businessman and tabloid celebrity Donald Trump tweeted, “Many people have said I’m the world’s greatest writer of 140 character sentences.” Now, five years later, those 140 (and sometimes 280) character sentences are immortalized (at least for the weekend) in The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library.
Trevor Noah’s pop-up museum has been fashioned as a parody of the presidential libraries, displaying Trump’s tweets in a variety of manners. The nature of the president’s Twitter feed makes the exhibit inherently humorous, although the entire exhibit relies on the one joke, which can wear a little thin.
Trump’s Twitter account is something of an anomaly. Some of his tweets announce interviews or press conferences. Others send genuine sentiments of support, such as his farewell messages to soon-to-be-former Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. He sometimes weighs in on policy discussions.
Yet much of his Twitter feed is overrun with reflexive reactions to current events, pop culture, and feuds. It is these bizarre, sometimes humorous, often over-exposed tweets that make up this parody of a presidential library.
The exhibit opens with a prerecorded welcome from Noah, explaining his vision for the library, documenting “A rare moment in history, possibly the last moment in history,” in which, “thanks to Twitter, we have unprecedented access into an American president’s complicated inner life, whether we want it or not.”
After this greeting, the “library” mimics an array of museum types. Mirroring a historical exhibit, Noah presents Trump’s Twitter in five eras, pulling a few key tweets into a facsimile of historical context. Certain tweets are framed as if works of art, with descriptions underneath. An “In Memoriam,” surrounded by red roses, printed a now-deleted tweet on gold plaques: deleted, but not forgotten.
Some of the exhibits are more interactive. Using a randomizer, guests can enter their names and receive a Trump-style nickname in the vein of “Lying Ted” or “Crazy Bernie.” I was dubbed “Little Paulina,” oddly befitting my short stature.
The most popular exhibit allowed attendees to create their own Trumpian tweet in response to a given situation. This activity took place in a model Oval Office, with a golden toilet in place of a chair. Attendees have the option of wearing a bathrobe, red tie, messy blond wig, and MAGA hat, while surrounded by American and Russian flags. The activity is mildly fun, but not worth the line.
The penultimate display is a video of testimonials, with various people describing the pain and shock they experienced during the 11 minutes in 2017 when Trump’s Twitter account vanished. This video was the most original joke in the exhibit, and the only one not relying solely on Trump’s tweets being odd and funny. By the time I reached the video, I had achieved a level of fatigue with the same punch line carrying through all the jokes.
No one should go into the Twitter library assuming Noah has any intention of being non-biased, and Trump is far from his only target. While the president takes the brunt of the jokes, his family and Fox News are also mocked. One particularly pointed jab refers to “Fox and Friends” as the president’s “daily intelligence briefing.”
The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library is an unqualified success. Facing consistent hour-and-a-half long waits, people are lining up to attend. While certainly catering to a liberal crowd, anyone can enjoy the humor.
For those who dislike the president, the museum is the perfect means by which to mock him. His fans can appreciate the jokes in a tongue-and-cheek manner, laughing along with the tweets. While the entire premise rests on one joke, no one will leave the museum without laughing.