Since the early days of President Trump’s term, the Brothers Krassenstein have been a Twitter staple. Anti-Trumpers Brian and Ed Krassenstein first gained over one million followers on the app by replying to President Trump’s tweets with pithy, snarky commentary. Next, when Twitter banned the brothers in spring 2019 after alleging that they used fake accounts to bolster their clout, Heidi Krassenstein—wife of Brian—emerged from the ashes, determined to continue the brothers’ quest to... take down the president by calling him orange.
And now... well, now their work here is done, apparently.
On Wednesday, Heidi tweeted a farewell message to her 192,000 followers, bidding adieu to Trump’s mentions and Twitter entirely.
“My mission here, as well as my husband’s and brother-in-law’s (Brian and Ed Krassenstein) was always to fact-check Trump and counter his use of social media to attack our democracy,” Heidi wrote. “On November 3rd, we won, America won and the world won as the President lost in what he’d call a ‘landslide.’ I am taking a break from social media, perhaps forever, as I feel the onslaught of lies will gradually wain from here.”
She went on to call out the dangers of social media disinformation campaigns (yes, spot on), insisted that she and the rest of the Krassensteins were not grifters (okay, whatever), and wrote that “Since the 17th century, the scientific method has been viewed as the ultimate means to acquire knowledge, but in the past 4 years over half of the country seems to have regressed into the 16th century” (both centuries were shit, actually).
So what does this mean? Not much except that one of the most Twitter famous names of the Trump-era Resistance movement will be MIA for a while. We’ll see how long that will last, though. The Krassenstein brothers are still around on Facebook, posting middling anti-Trump content for their 84,000 followers. Maybe they’ll work on a sequel to their children’s book How the People Trumped Ronald Plump, which Daily Beast described as featuring “a ripped ‘Robert Moral’—a sculpted, shirtless stand-in for then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller who wouldn’t have looked out of place at a Chippendales revue” and an “oafish Trump double.”
But maybe they’ll focus on their defamation suit against Twitter instead. Why anyone would go through the trouble of suing to get back onto that timesuck of a social media app is anybody’s guess.
Either way, their loyal followers are devastated by the sudden retreat. “Resistance still needs you” reads one reply. “America hasn’t won yet until trump leaves office,” reads another. “Hopefully you will change your mind and remain until that happens.
But the Krassensteins—brothers and wife—were largely professional reply guys who preached to the choir. If anything, their popularity forces us to contemplate the extent to which having a sizable Twitter following and tweeting “IMPEACH” actually does much of anything to inspire substantive change. While their content was probably a relief for those who scroll through Facebook and see endless streams of right-wing nonsense, the Krassenstein brand of activism always felt a bit more cringe than inspiring.
But maybe I’m just one of those jealous reporters the Krassenstein brothers blame for their downfall.
From Daily Beast:
“If there is one thing we regret that has come out of the entire Twitter experience, it’s the fact that we allowed the ‘grifter’ tag to follow us around,” the brothers wrote.
The brothers blame much of the ridicule directed at them on reporters, who they say “hated us because we stole attention from them.”
“Journalists opposed the fact that we used catch phrases on Twitter to garner more attention, such as ‘BREAKING’ or ‘BOOM’ or ‘KABOOM,’” they wrote.