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Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told Mike Allen in an interview for "Axios on HBO" that he uses a "secret Twitter account," which he later confirmed is named "Pierre Delecto" after Slate's Ashley Feinberg published a story connecting details from the anonymous account back to Romney.

The exchange:

ALLEN: There's some question whether you follow President Trump. Your official account follows President Trump.
ROMNEY: I have two official accounts — one is a Senate account and the other is the Mitt Romney account and those accounts are not ones I look at regularly. I do follow them, but I have an anonymous account, which is the one that I look at two or three times a day.
ALLEN: Oh, so you're a lurker?
ROMNEY: Is that what they're called? I'm embarrassed to be called a lurker. I've been called a lot of things, but being called a lurker is a new low.

Why it matters: As Delecto, Romney liked tweets critical of President Trump, who has attacked Romney on Twitter in the past. The senator also occasionally used the account to defend himself against detractors.

Background: The Atlantic's McKay Coppins published a profile on Romney on Sunday in which the senator revealed that he used a secret account to keep tabs on political conversations. After Feinberg tracked the account down, Romney confirmed to Coppins' that the Delecto account belonged to him.

  • Feinberg noted that the Pierre Delecto account was created in 2011, when Romney first announced his presidential candidacy, and that it first followed Taggart Romney, the senator's oldest son.
  • Pierre Delecto also follows Twitter user @Darlin1Patience, a private account that follows members of the Romney family, like Craig Romney and eldest Romney grandchild Allie Romney.
  • The account is now private.

Of note: In the interview with "Axios on HBO," Romney said he learned of Trump's decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria on Twitter "like most folks."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
9 hours ago - World

China's economy grows 6.5% in Q4 as country rebounds from coronavirus

A technician installs and checks service robots to be be used for food and medicine delivery in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China, on Sunday. Photo: Hu Xuejun/VCG via Getty Images

China's economy grew at a 6.5% pace in the final quarter of 2020, the national statistics bureau announced Monday local time, topping off a year in which it grew in three of four quarters and by 2.3% in total.

Why it matters: No other major economy managed positive growth in 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was first detected in China, the country got the virus under control and became one of the main positive drivers of the global economy even as the rest of the world was largely under lockdown.