With just days left until Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, the president-elect has finally settled a burning question: where he’ll tweet from once he’s in the White House.
NBC News reporter Kelly O’Donnell reports that transition officials say that while the administration will take control of the @POTUS account, Trump himself will stick to tweeting from his personal account.
The White House social media accounts do transfer to the new administration and could still be used by Trump staff
Kelly O’Donnell (@KellyO) January 16, 2017
Trump has previously said he’d continue to tweet while in office, though, in an interview in a post-election interview with 60 Minutes, he said he’d be “very restrained.” While he’s certainly tweeted less, the substance has remained typical Trump.
In her report for NBC, O’Donnell had some video of Trump speaking on the matter.
Kelly O’Donnell (@KellyO) January 15, 2017
That Trump will maintain both accounts isn’t really all that unusual. After all, there’s only ever been one president in the existence of the @POTUS account Barack Obama and he also has a personal account.
In Obama’s case, his @BarackObama account, as of Sunday night while he’s still the sitting president, says it’s run by staff at his Organizing For Action. He’ll keep that account while the @POTUS account, the @WhiteHouse account, and other president-related social media accounts will transfer to the Trump administration.
Of course, the tenor of Obama’s tweets differ greatly from Trump’s account.
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Come Friday, while tweets from the Trump administration will surely populate those other accounts, we all know where to turn when someone says something bad about Trump.
All about those numbers
Trump also touched on the topic in a wide-ranging interview with The Sunday Times (registration required), elaborating a bit more about why he’ll keep using his own account rather than the official one. Spoiler alert: it’s all about those follower numbers.
@realDonaldTrump I think, Ill keep it . . . so Ive got 46 million people right now thats a lot, thats really a lot but 46 million including Facebook, Twitter and ya know, Instagram, so when you think that youre 46 million there, Id rather just let that build up and just keep it @realDonaldTrump, its working and the tweeting, I thought Id do less of it, but Im covered so dishonestly by the press so dishonestly that I can put out Twitter and its not 140, its now 280 I can go bing bing bing . . . and they put it on and as soon as I tweet it out this morning on television, Fox Donald Trump, we have breaking news.
Of course, Trump is fudging numbers a bit, combining followers from multiple platforms to get that 46 million number.
On just Twitter, at the time this post was published, he has 20 million followers, while the @POTUS account has 13.5 million followers and President Obama’s personal account (more on that shortly) has 80.5 million followers.
Alex Howard (@digiphile) January 16, 2017
(That brings Trump’s total to 42.2 million followers, compared to Obama’s 145.2 million, across those three platforms.)
So what happens to the Obama digital legacy?
On Friday, once Trump has been sworn in, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will transfer all of Obama’s tweets at @POTUS over to the account @POTUS44. The same will go for Joe Biden’s @VP tweets (@VP44) and Michelle Obama’s @FLOTUS tweets (@FLOTUS44).
In fact, the NARA is busy making sure all of the digital and social media content created by the Obama White House across multiple platforms, from Medium to YouTube, will likewise be stored on new archival accounts so that they’ll still live online and be viewed by the public.
You know, just in case the latest incendiary tweets from president number 45 become a bit too much to bear.