On Thursday evening, Donald Trump’s official @realdonaldtrump Twitter account abruptly vanished. In its place was a message stating that no such account existed. It sent Twitter users into an uproar as they began speculating about what might have happened. Was he hacked? Did Twitter suspend him? Did he throw a tantrum and delete his own account? Eventually his account came back online. Now Twitter is providing an official explanation, and it’s a doozy.
Twitter used its own blue-checkmark verified @TwitterGov account to provide this initial explanation: “Earlier today @realdonaldtrump’s account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee. The account was down for 11 minutes, and has since been restored. We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.” Then two hours later it posted the real story.
Here’s the updated explanation from Twitter about what happened: “Through our investigation we have learned that this was done by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee’s last day. We are conducting a full internal review.” So now we know that a departing Twitter employee deleted Donald Trump’s account on the way out the door. While it wasn’t explicitly stated, the explanation appears to imply that the departing employee did it as a prank, and not as some kind of unintentional error. What may be most notable is Trump’s response to the disappearance of his account.
Although Donald Trump did surface on Twitter not long after, and his unhinged tweets including the demand that Hillary Clinton be prosecuted for a new round of imaginary crimes, he made no mention of the fact that his account had just been deleted minutes earlier. Even though “Trump’s Twitter” was trending and it had become a major story by that time, Trump appears to be so cut off from reality that he had no idea someone had deleted his Twitter account.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report