Donald Trump was warned by Congress on Wednesday to stop deleting tweets on his personal Twitter account, because doing so “could pose a violation,” according to the House Oversight Committee. This warning comes after President Trump deleted two more tweets over the past weekend. The Huffington Post reports that failing to archive messages on Twitter before deleting them could actually be a violation of the Presidential Records Act, a nearly 40-year-old mandate that calls for the preservation of all presidential records.
According to MSN, Donald Trump is the first U.S. president to “avidly use Twitter.” Donald Trump decided to keep using his personal Twitter account as president, mainly due to his lack of respect for many of the mainstream news media outlets. NPR reported back in November that newly-elected President Trump turned to Twitter three days after winning the 2016 presidential election to keep his constituents up-to-date and to “air his grievances.” It’s no secret that Donald Trump would prefer the American people get their news directly from him through Twitter and skip the middleman, referring to what he calls the “fake” news media.
— Cindy (@Cindy63306167) March 10, 2017
President Trump has complete control over his Twitter. However, he claims he doesn’t “love it,” but “it gets the word out.” Unfortunately, having complete control also means that he can edit and even delete any tweet for any reason. The New York Daily News shared back in January that Donald Trump is known for deleting his tweets, mainly due to typos. In fact, President Trump actually deleted a tweet on the first official day of his presidency. After misspelling the word “honored” on his personal Twitter account, Donald Trump swiftly deleted that tweet and replaced it with a nearly identical message — minus the typo.
“I am honered to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!”
But President Trump doesn’t always get it correct the first time around, according to the Huffington Post report, which states that Trump actually deleted two tweets over the past weekend due to spelling errors in both the original, as well as the edited version. Having misspelled the word “hereby,” Donald Trump deleted that tweet, but only after a few of his Twitter followers pointed out the spelling error. The deleted tweet was replaced with another tweet that also misspelled the word “hereby,” which was again deleted and replaced with a final typo-free tweet, leading Trump’s Twitter followers to question if it was even legal for him to be deleting tweets as president.
— Stephen Ward (@barristersclerk) March 9, 2017
McClatchyDC reports that Congress is asking that exact same question and wants to know what President Trump is doing with his deleted tweets, adding that if he’s not saving them, then he could possibly be in violation of the Presidential Records Act. Two top members of the House Oversight Committee reportedly sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday warning Donald Trump to stop deleting his tweets, adding that even the typo-filled tweets have to be preserved as presidential records.
“Many of the messages sent from [President Trump’s twitter] accounts are likely to be presidential records and therefore must be preserved. It has been reported, however, that President Trump has deleted tweets, and if those tweets were not archived it could pose a violation of the Presidential Records Act.”
Some people are now asking why Barack Obama wasn’t scolded for deleting tweets as president. According to the New York Daily News, President Obama tweeted under the official presidential Twitter handle, @POTUS, not under a personal Twitter account. The @POTUS Twitter account is reportedly set up to use a system of auto-archiving tweets, but this auto-archiving feature is only available for official accounts, according to the White House’s office of digital strategy.
We Found the 9 Tweets Donald Trump Has Deleted Since He Was Sworn In as President: It's pretty clear why some of… https://t.co/efnyWrUKZx
— Politics Brooklyn (@POLSBrooklyn) February 23, 2017
A former member of the Congressional staff, Carter Moore, says that it’s “very unlikely” that Donald Trump deleting tweets is legal, but that it really depends on the “nature of the tweet and on how thoroughly he deletes it,” according to Forbes. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois added that Donald Trump is “destroying the credibility of the Office of President” through his use of Twitter — “140 characters at a time,” as shared by CNN, following Trump’s series of unsubstantiated tweets on Saturday accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping phones in Trump Tower prior to the 2016 presidential election.
Even if Donald Trump himself isn’t archiving deleted tweets, ProPublica is, via a long list of deleted tweets from President Donald Trump’s verified personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump. ProPublica has been archiving Trump’s tweets since June of 2015.
[Featured Image by Pool/Getty Images]