There’s been a mysterious change in Trump's demeanor — and no one knows why

  • President Donald Trump has been much more subdued since the "shithole countries" news cycle.
  • He has delivered six speeches in the past couple of weeks without stepping on his intended message.
  • On Twitter, he's been much more restrained.


President Donald Trump has been relatively subdued in recent weeks — and his poll numbers have spiked.

The trend can be traced back to the passing of the news cycle about his "shithole countries" remark from the middle of last month. In the weeks that followed, he has only posted a handful of acerbic or unnecessary tweets — virtually unprecedented for such a length of time — and delivered a series of speeches that remained on message.

It's a frequent occurrence for Trump to initiate a days- or weeks-long news cycle on a subject unrelated to the message he and his administration were trying to drive home.

And the trend has been noticed by observers.

"I have noticed," Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and communications director for Sen. Marco Rubio's 2016 presidential campaign, told Business Insider in an email. "The president's shown more message discipline in the last month than he did in all of 2017. It's directly correlated with general improvement in his poll numbers."

Conant is right about the correlation between Trump's weeks of relative calm and the improved polling. On Thursday, Trump's approval rating reached its highest point in months, according to the RealClearPolitics aggregate of polls.

Trump began February with a 41.5% approval rating in RCP. It was his highest rating since he hit 41.7% on September 24, and it was just the second time his average rating was 41.5% or higher since mid-May.

RELATED: A look at President Trump's first State of the Union address

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President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address
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President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address
US President Donald Trump listens to applause before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: First lady Melania Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) looks on as US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (R) , and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin look on before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Jared Kusner and Ivanka Trump attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump holds a glass of water before he delivers the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) points after being acknowledged during U.S. President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald Trump enters the House of Representatives chamber to deliver his first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by the president and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C), backed by US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan claps as he arrives for his State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller is pictured outside of the White House before President Donald Trump departs for Capitol Hill to deliver the 2018 State of the Union Address on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) confers with Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) as they makes their way to the House of Representatives Chamber for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
(L-R) US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speak before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: (L-R) U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), U.S. Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA) during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump waves as she arrives for the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: (L-R) U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Senator Cory Booker (L, D-NJ) waves he awaits the start of the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Eric Trump (L) and his wife, Lara, arrive for the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan point as they await U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House to deliver his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, U.S., January 30 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (C) jokes with other members of Congress on the floor of the House ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
House Oversight Committee Rep. Trey Gowdy (L) talks with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise as they await U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump (C) arrives for his State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (L) talks with U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R) ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R) talks with Senator Ted Cruz (L) and other members of Congress prior to U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump waves during the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: First lady Melania Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner (C-L) and Ivanka Trump clap before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) point during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Rep Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) watch during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Robert Mickens, Elizabeth Alvarado, Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas, parents of children who were murdered by MS-13 are acknowledged as US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Trump attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Trump attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Parents of Otto Warmbier, Fred and Cindy Warmbier are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Steven Daines (R-MT) take a selfie as they make their way to the House of Representatives Chamber for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and his wife Marcelle make their way to the House of Representatives Chamber for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: First lady Melania Trump looks on as Police officer Ryan Holets and his wife are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck is acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, smiles while delivering a State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Trump sought to connect his presidency to the nation's prosperity in his first State of the Union address, arguing that the U.S. has arrived at a 'new American moment' of wealth and opportunity. Photographer: Win McNamee/Pool via Bloomberg
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (C) watches during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacts as she sits with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) listens next to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) during U.S. President Donald Trump's his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump's relatives, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, watch during the president's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump takes a sip of water as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Rep. James Clyburn (L), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi react to U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump's relatives, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, watch during the president's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney talks with members of Congress during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch talk as they attend U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Elzabeth Alvarado, Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas, parents of children who were murdered by MS-13 watch as U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas, parents of children who were murdered by MS-13 watch as U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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'It's very clear that he's cognizant of not stepping on himself and not stepping on his own news cycle'

The improved rating came on the heels of three polls published following Trump's State of the Union address. Both an Economist/YouGov poll and a Monmouth University survey found Trump's approval rating to be 44%, while a right-leaning Rasmussen poll put Trump's approval rating at 45%.

The State of the Union address itself polled well among an audience that was skewed a bit more conservative than the voting populace at large and featured Trump touting his first-year accomplishments in addition to calling for revitalizing US infrastructure and overhauling the immigration system. In addition to that speech, which saw Trump stay firmly on message, the president has delivered five speeches since mid-January that have all remained on point. 

They included remarks on tax cuts and the economy at H&K Equipment outside of Pittsburgh, his speech at the March for Life, the address he delivered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the swearing in of Alex Azar as Health and Human Services secretary, and his Thursday speech to House and Senate Republicans at their retreat in West Virginia.

Each of those addresses were a far cry from what most are accustomed to seeing from Trump along the campaign trail, during rallies, or even during similar speeches he's delivered while occupying the Oval Office.

"I think he has gotten a lot better at driving a message," a former White House official told Business Insider. "He's always been extremely talented at putting a message out there, but I think he's gotten really good at letting something just stay out."

RELATED: Trump delivering speeches through the years

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Trump delivering speeches through the years
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Trump delivering speeches through the years
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he delivers a speech during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech on tax reform legislation at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Utah State Capitol, where he announced big cuts to Utah's sprawling wilderness national monuments, in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his speech as he and China's President Xi Jinping meet business leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. REUTERS/Lee Jin-man/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech on tax reform in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Donald Trump turns his back to the crowd during his speech at a rally for Senator Luther Strange at the Von Braun Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, U.S., September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Marvin Gentry
US. President Donald Trump gives a public speech at Krasinski Square, in Warsaw, Poland July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech on US-Cuba relations at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami, Florida, U.S., June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver a speech on US-Cuba relations at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami, Florida, U.S., June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech during Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a USA Thank You Tour event in Orlando, Florida, U.S., December 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at the USA Thank You Tour event at the Wisconsin State Fair Exposition Center in West Allis, Wisconsin, U.S., December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump speaks at event at Carrier HVAC plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Bergin
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
U.S. President elect Donald Trump speaks at election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President elect Donald Trump speaks at election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at his final campaign event at the Devos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gestures as he speaks at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina November 7, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. November 7, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Sarasota, Florida, U.S. November 7, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump rallies with supporters in a cargo hangar at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida, U.S. November 5, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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"It's very clear that he's cognizant of not stepping on himself and not stepping on his own news cycle," they added. "I think that's what we've seen recently where he's left a little bit of room for people to breathe. The State of the Union happened and I think after it, a lot of people were expecting some sort of tweet that would step on that news cycle. That didn't happen."

Indeed, that wasn't the only time the president decided to remain a bit calmer on Twitter during this time. Save for a couple of tweets about "Cryin" Chuck Schumer, responding to a comment from music mogul Jay-Z, and commenting on the text messages sent between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the president hasn't sparked much — if any — news with his tweets since the middle of last month. He even went three days without tweeting at all, save for one post that was clearly set up by a staffer.

Again, that's virtually unheard of for a stretch of time that long. And it's during a time when plenty is going on in the background.

The Russia investigation is seemingly reaching a climax, with officials such as FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe being shown the door, a potentially explosive Republican memo from the House Intelligence Committee causing tension between the White House and Justice Department, and reports that Trump himself has sought to push out Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or even special counsel Robert Mueller.

Plus, there was a three-day government shutdown that occurred during this time. But Trump was able come out on top, at least in the short term, by staying on the sidelines.

The former White House official said they did not know if there was a specific triggering event that led to the sudden change in Trump's demeanor, but added that the president is "reaping" the benefits of such a change.

"I think he figured out really quickly that a big important thing in politics is to not step on your own message, to not step on your own good news cycle," the former official said. "I think he's been very effective over the last couple days and weeks at doing that."

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