President Trump appears to be following the same rule he adhered to in 2017: no mean tweeting around the big speech.

If history is a predictor, the countdown clock above shows when we can expect Trump to revert to form and conjure up his next tweetstorm.

On the days surrounding his address to a joint session of Congress last year, Trump was uncharacteristically tame on Twitter — ostensibly to avoid detracting from the moment. The speech was on a Tuesday, just like this year’s State of the Union. Trump fired off an angry missive about “FAKE NEWS” on the Sunday before, then sanitized his Twitter feed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The strategy paid off, which is probably why the president is repeating it. The combination of a well-reviewed speech and a lack of distractions produced the best news cycle of Trump’s presidency.

But on Thursday of that week, at 9:22 p.m., hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the federal law-enforcement investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, the president went off about “illegal leaks” and a “witch hunt.”

This year, Trump similarly fired his last, pre-speech Twitter shot the Sunday before the State of the Union. It was an angry request for someone to “please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!” Jay-Z was a guest on the premiere of Van Jones’s CNN show Saturday.

Trump mostly refrained from tweeting Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; when he did, the messages were vanilla — just like last year. Based on precedent, the cease-fire will end Thursday at 9:22 p.m.

In reality, of course, it is unlikely that Trump’s first post-speech tweetstorm will arrive at the exact same time that it did in 2017. The countdown clock is just a fun tool that illustrates a point: Trump can restrain himself on Twitter, when he wants to — we’ve seen him do it on foreign trips, too — but his next digital attack is never far away.

Most voters — and a plurality Republicans — said in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll that Trump’s tweeting hurts his presidency more than it helps.

Trump, however, insists that he benefits from tweeting, which means he is not going to quit or alter his style. The peace surrounding his State of the Union address probably won’t last much longer.

President Trump gave his first State of the Union address to Congress on Jan. 30. Here are the highlights from his remarks. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

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