No one wants to return to Twitter more badly than Donald Trump.
When the site banned finally banned our malodorous then-president for inciting the January 7 riots at the Capitol, which killed five people, he didn’t give up until he began tweeting from his campaign’s and the official presidential accounts and got them banned too. Trump reportedly then took to regularly bothering aides with suggestions for things they could tweet instead, and he’s floated the idea of just launching his own knockoff site. Twitter has been forced to repeatedly clarify that Trump can’t exploit loopholes, like running for or winning the presidency again, to get back his @realDonaldTrump handle.
As it turns out, even @realDonaldTrump’s withered corpse isn’t welcome there. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the government agency tasked with preserving and maintaining records of the federal government, has created archival accounts for a number of Trump administration officials like @Scavino45 (for ex-White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino) and @PressSec45 (for former Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany). But, as first reported on Wednesday by Politico, NARA won’t be allowed to create such a back-up of tweets by @realDonaldTrump.
Instead, the agency will have to build its own way of making Trump’s 26,000 banned tweets accessible to the public where they can’t be endlessly quote-tweeted back onto people’s timelines.
“I can confirm that our teams have been working with NARA on the preservation of Tweets from @realDonaldTrump, as is standard with any administration transition and as we’ve done previously,” Trenton Kennedy, a Twitter spokesperson, told Gizmodo in a statement via email. “We have a long-standing, collaborative partnership with NARA on a number of issues, including to preserve records in accordance with appropriate laws.”
“Given that we permanently suspended @realDonaldTrump, the content from the account will not appear on Twitter as it did previously or as archived administration accounts do currently, regardless of how NARA decides to display the data it has preserved,” Kennedy added. “Administration accounts that are archived on the service are accounts that were not in violation of the Twitter Rules.”
The Department of Justice considered Trump’s tweets on his personal account to be official statements by the Office of the President, thus making them subject to laws requiring preservation of presidential records. The office of the former president, where Trump has continued to hold court for his remaining fans, didn’t respond to Politico’s request for comment on whether it had transferred a full record of his tweets to NARA or attempted to restrict the agency from reproducing certain ones even he might wish went down the memory hole.
James Pritchett, a spokesperson for NARA, told Politico the agency is “still exploring” how to host Trump’s tweets. One option: presenting them as a downloadable archive. He acknowledged that “Twitter is solely responsible for the decision of what content is available on their platform.”
“NARA works closely with Twitter and other social media platforms to maintain archived social accounts from each presidential administration, but ultimately the platform owners can decline to host these accounts,” Pritchett added. “NARA preserves platform-independent copies of social media records and is working to make that content available to the public.”
In many vile ways, Trump’s tweets will never truly leave us. But you might have to go to the National Archive website if you actually want to read them.