When Trump entered the White House, he held on to his “television — and his old, unsecured Android phone, to the protests of some of his aides — to keep him company.” On March 8th, that Android phone went silent on twitter and hasn’t made a single “tweet” since. Something big must have happened to wrestle that Samsung Galaxy S3 out of his hands, especially considering how many times he has rebuffed that call already. The cause may be a letter from the Republican-led House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, warning the White House that Trump might have been breaking the law with his twitter habits.
The last we heard from Trump’s Galaxy S3
It has been well known for months that there were two authors on Trump’s personal twitter account: those that came from an Android phone were his, while those posted using an iPhone were written by the unknown hands of staffers. Tracking these has been made quite painless by the DidTrumpTweetIt archive, which reports the device used to post each @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS tweet.
As soon as Trump won the election, security experts and lawmakers raised continual concerns that his use of the Android phone as Commander-in-Chief posed considerable security risks. However, Trump steadfastly refused to give up his Galaxy S3 phone, posting an average of 4 tweets per day from it since his inauguration, according to our research.
Ever since he appeared to spent a few days in twitter jail after some particularly obnoxious posts, we’ve been closely following the activity of his two accounts. It turns out that Trump hasn’t tweeted from his Android phone since the morning of March 8.
That makes 10 days and counting at this time of writing this article.
Nonetheless, his @realDonaldTrump twitter feed has been alive and well, averaging over 5 posts per day. And a lot of them sound just like Trump: bombastic language, self-reverence, even his special style of ending each one with a two-word declaration. For example,
Was it a letter from House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform?
On March 9, one day after the last Android tweet, the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform sent a bipartisan letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn. Co-signed by Republican chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings, the letter notes in part that
President Trump uses at least two Twitter accounts: an official White House account (@POTUS) and an account that predates his inauguration (@realDonaldTrump). Many of the messages sent from these accounts are likely to be presidential records and therefore must be preserved. It has been reported, however, that President Trump has deleted tweets, and if those tweets are not archived it could pose a violation of the Presidential Records Act.
Here is just one example of deletes and reposts, saved by an industrious user (it was to correct a mis-spelling of “hear by” to hearby).
The Committee gave the Trump administration until March 22 to respond to a variety of information “to assist the Committee in better understanding [their] policies governing the implementation of the Presidential Records Act.”
It’s not about a Galaxy S3. It’s about breaking the law.
The Committee asked for a variety of policies and procedures that the White House has in place to ensure records are properly kept for “non-official messaging accounts, including email, text messaging, messaging applications, and social media platforms.” This covers not only Trump’s tweets but also the names and addresses/handles of White House officials reported to have “used an alias email account to conduct official business since January 20, 2017.”
Wait! Officials in Trump’s White House are using private e-mails?! Oh, the irony! Oh, the hypocrisy! Surely you haven’t forgotten how Trump was going to lock up Hillary Clinton because she used a private email server?
Lest we forget, Trump himself has been using a private messaging service daily. In his mind, twitter has been his own private media outlet. Indeed, he told Tucker Carlson just two days ago that he uses twitter because “I can reach, whether it’s 90 million, 100 million, or 80 million–when I can reach that many people, Twitter is a wonderful thing for me because I get the word out.” That doesn’t change the fact that he was using an unsecured device and was deleting his records.
That’s why this matters morally. He isn’t living up to his own “gold standard” of ethics that he expects of everyone else. That’s a tremendous fail, bigly.
But more importantly, Trump himself, and senior officials in his administration, may be in violation of the law. The law is the law, and our lawmakers, the White House chief among them, must be held to the highest level of scrutiny when it comes to possibly breaking our laws.
While there has been plenty of speculation and a few actual cases of his advisors and cabinet members having acted in a variety of unsavory (and illegal) ways, there have not been any smoking guns indicating that Trump himself acted illegally, until now. So maybe, just maybe, the specter of being caught red handed caused him to put down the Galaxy S3 and have someone else do the tweeting for him? If that is correct, this is more than just a blow to his inviolable ego and epic stubbornness. It shows his true Achilles’ heel.
Will he start tweeting with his Android phone again? He has often professed his disdain for Apple products and probably doesn’t like having to call in a lackey at 6 AM or midnight to punch out his tirades. So if he does pull out the old Galaxy S3, rest assured, you will hear it first here.
Featured image from twitter and the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform