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Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The blog from former President Trump — originally touted as his own social media 'platform' — generated engagement roughly on par with the top posts from mid-market local newspapers, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

Why it matters: Even with his considerable base of support, Trump was unable to defy the laws of social media physics by getting political followers to change their habits.

  • The move to shut down the page this week acknowledged the flawed assumption that if you build it, they will come.

The big picture: The numbers, a far cry from the audience Trump commanded with his Twitter and Facebook accounts, show the limits of Trump's power without access to the biggest platforms.

  • Trump's attention monopoly has steadily waned since late January, as he lost both the power of his office and of his social media megaphones.

Catch up quick: Leading up to the launch of 'From the Desk of Donald J. Trump', Trump's allies teased an upcoming "platform."

  • When it arrived on May 4, it was promoted with a dramatic video saying, "In a time of silence and lies, a beacon of freedom arises." Some were surprised to see that it was a section of his website populated by tweet-like entries.
  • Trump's team hoped that social share buttons would provide an avenue for his comments to enter into the bloodstream of major platforms via his supporters, which couldn't be done through his previous communications strategy — tweet-like press releases.
  • After 29 days, the blog was shut down on Wednesday. The Washington Post reported that Trump ordered the shutdown after learning of the lousy readership.

What they're saying: Following reports about the site's lowly traffic, Trump called the blog a "very basic site," while aide Jason Miller said "it was just auxiliary to the broader efforts we have and are working on."

Go deeper

Updated Sep 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump visits NYC but opts out of official ceremony on 20th anniversary of 9/11

Former President Donald Trump struck a divisive tone as he visited New York City on Saturday, opting not to participate in the official ceremony at Ground Zero honoring the victims of the terrorist attacks.

Why it matters: The 45th president's remarks were in sharp contrast to the calls for unity from President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and former President George W. Bush, who alluded to the Capitol insurrection and the dangers of homegrown extremists in his own remarks in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

10 mins ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The United States announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.

Stuck jet stream brings blowtorch December in Lower 48, frigid Alaska

Short-term climate outlook for Dec. 13-19, 2021, from the Climate Prediction Center at NOAA. (NOAA/CPC)

The Lower 48 states have seen record-shattering warmth so far this December, with temperatures running as high as 35°F above average for this time of year. The warmth has been so pronounced that during the weekend, brush fires broke out in a snowless, unusually mild Denver metro area.

The big picture: The jet stream, which is a river of air that rides at about 30,000 feet along the temperature contrast between air masses, steering storms as it goes, has been stuck in a position well north of the continental U.S., keeping storms and cold weather at bay.

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