On Monday, Donald Trump reached 20 million followers on Twitter – surpassing the likes of Kylie Jenner and Chris Brown. Given his total social platform reach of 46 million, which includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., the President-elect told the Times of London and German newspaper Bild Sunday that he will continue to use his personal accounts to disseminate news and information.
Is that legal? Yes. Per a spokesman from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the handle itself is immaterial. All that matters is that the Trump Administration accurately submits all tweets, posts and records laid out by NARA in the Presidential Records Act.
What will happen to @POTUS? In October, the Obama administration announced their plans to give all social accounts to the 45th President upon inauguration., including official handles, like @POTUS on Twitter and "The White House" page on Facebook, but deleting all posts so that the new president could start from scratch. Should Trump choose to abandon them the official accounts will sit dormant.
Why Trump says he's doing this:
- It's effective: Trump says tweeting offers a sense of immediacy and scale that a press release or a news conference couldn't deliver.
- It's hard to misinterpret: Trump says tweeting his messages helps ensure accuracy in his messages, which can be construed when he is covered "so dishonestly" by the press.
- He has promised to be more "restrained" about the account after taking office
Our thought bubble: This is a missed opportunity for the Trump Administration. While Trump does have a larger personal social following than most of the official accounts, the existing government accounts likely reach a different audience and he could use the official accounts to amplify his messages.