Monday, December 16, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He retweeted a Jewish "supporter" who also happened to be a day-old bot account.

As of this afternoon, Trump's Twitter feed contained this mysterious post, a retweet from his political advisor Sebastian Gorka:

The original tweet that Trump was trying to broadcast to his millions of followers was from "Joseph," supposedly a Jewish man in New York who was writing to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) to say that he would never vote for Nadler or another Democrat ever again because of Trump's imminent impeachment—and neither would his "family and community."

Somehow, the tweet reached the attention of Gorka—who has refused to renounce ties to an anti-Semitic Hungarian group—in spite of the fact that "Joseph" had only been on Twitter for a day. Trump retweeted it the following day, just in time for Twitter to suspend it as a bot account.

Twitter bots using pro-Trump disinformation were and continue to be one of the major avenues for Russia's interference in American elections.

It's impossible to know if Trump, who has been fooled by Twitter bots and other hoaxes many times while in office, actually believed that "Joseph" was real. But given that he was recently caught putting the same worshipful story about himself in the mouths of at four different supposed Jewish friends (at least two of whom actually exist as real people), Trump may have been desperate to change the subject.

In the real world, Trump is very unpopular with Jewish Americans—and he doesn't think much of them either.

Why does this matter? 

  • Politicians who have the support of real people don't desperately retweet fake people.