A fun footnote to Jazz’s post earlier via Mediaite. I could understand Romney wanting a “burner account” on Twitter if he wanted to interact with people anonymously, instead of opening an official account and having every last thing he tweeted be the subject of news stories. But Romney hardly ever commented from his “Pierre Delecto” account. He appears to have used his account almost exclusively to read the tweets of the people he followed.
So why did he need a burner account? If all he wanted to do was lurk, he could have opened a personal Mitt Romney account and just used that without tweeting.
There was, however, one thing he did with the Pierre account that would have been awkward if he had done it with a Mitt account: He “liked” certain tweets posted by others. Not everyone uses the “like” function to signal that they really do like a particular tweet; many use it as a way to bookmark a tweet to which they might have reason to refer later. (Once you “like” a tweet, it appears in a separate “like” column on your account for handy reference going forward.) Romney, however, seems to have used the “like” function the way it was designed, to signal approval of or agreement with someone else’s view.
And here’s the thing: The “like” column attached to one’s account is visible to the world. Anyone can see which tweets you’ve liked.
Which is where things get interesting. Georgetown professor Don Moynihan sifted through some of Pierre Delecto’s “likes” yesterday afternoon during the few hours between the time the account was identified as likely belonging to Romney and the time that Romney made the account “private.” (Once an account goes private, everything about it apart from the username — tweets, “likes,” you name it — is invisible to all except those who already followed the account.) What Moynihan found is that Pierre wasn’t shy about approving of tweets that were critical of Republicans…
…including Republicans with whom he serves in the Senate:
The Rubio tweet is especially surprising since Marco was a surrogate for Romney 2012 and a shortlister for VP that year. But note the date of Scott Conroy’s tweet criticizing Rubio: October 4 of this year. That was the day Rubio was asked by reporters what he thought about Trump publicly nudging China to investigate the Bidens and humiliated himself by dismissing it as nothing more than presidential trolling aimed at getting a rise out of the media.
“Pierre” is plainly tired of the Trump apologists in his own caucus.
That’s the amazing thing of about all of these tweets, in fact — the dates. These aren’t years-old tweets griping about Trump or other Republicans from back when Romney was enjoying private life. He was “liking” complaints about GOP senators as recently as a few weeks ago, when he was a member of the Senate himself. Which raises the question: What the hell was Romney doing “liking” tweets from his burner account, given the obvious political trouble doing so might cause him if the account was ultimately traced to him?
Did he never ask one of his kids or grandkids, “Say, if I ‘like’ a tweet mocking Little Marco Rubio, can other Twitter users see that?” The prudent thing to do with an account set up to allow him to lurk was to do just that — lurk. No “liking,” no retweeting, no nothing. Just follow the people you want to follow and read their tweets in silence.
Meanwhile, Mitt’s longtime enemies are opportunistically piling on:
As many, many others noted on Twitter after Huck posted that, Trump’s infamous use of alter egos over the years to promote himself (in particular, his sex life) has never seemed to give Huck or his daughter a moment’s pause before defending the president at every turn.
Anyway. Whatever Pierre’s faults, let it be known that he has/had excellent taste in Twitter commentary:
Mike Lee is of course Romney’s Senate colleague from Utah. I’m intrigued to see that “Pierre” appears to have shared my chagrin about Lee’s callous support for abandoning the Kurds.
In lieu of an exit question, here’s Romney being pressed by Axios about his view of Trump.