The first tweet President-elect Joe Biden posts after his inauguration might as well be “hacked at 33 million 😪.”
On Tuesday, Rob Flaherty, the digital director of Biden’s presidential campaign, tweeted that the follower count on the official @POTUS and @WhiteHouse Twitter accounts will reset to zero, effectively starting from scratch. This is in direct defiance of the precedent Twitter set at the beginning of the Trump era: The Trump administration absorbed all the followers on the @POTUS and @WhiteHouse Twitter accounts that President Obama built during his eight-year tenure, at Team Obama’s apparent insistence. The Trump team, however, seems reluctant to pass on the favor to Biden in a move that reeks of Trump-style petulance.
The Hill reached out to Twitter for confirmation and came back with a vague response from Twitter spokesman Nicholas Pacilio: “Twitter has been in ongoing discussions with the Biden transition team on a number of aspects related to White House account transfers.”
Flaherty responded to Pacilio’s statement, tweeting, “happy to share the email thread where we pushed back and we were told this was unequivocal.” Pacilio tweeted back: “Hey Rob, no need i’m familiar with it!”
According to Biden’s transition team, Twitter will offer a one-time notification suggesting users following Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris follow an account titled “@transition46.”
The account currently has 1.2 million followers and will be “rebranded” as the official White House account. Still, as of now, @POTUS, @FLOTUS, and @PressSec will all start from scratch.
The @POTUS account has 33.2 million followers while the @WhiteHouse account has 26 million followers. Still, these numbers can’t beat that of President Trump’s personal Twitter account—@realDonaldTrump—which currently boasts 88.5 million followers. Trump doesn’t need the other accounts to get his nonsense out in the public, so why fight to keep them?
Pure pettiness is the only reasonable answer. Donald Trump will simply not do the reasonable or dignified thing, now or ever, especially when it comes to the one part of being the president he actually enjoys: The adoration of people named @MAGAmom1673476.