The Defense Department’s official Twitter account retweeted a message Thursday calling for three politicians, including President Trump, to step away from politics amid sexual assault allegations, but quickly deleted it and said it was a mistake.
The tweet, by a person using the handle “Proud Resister,” stated that Trump and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) should resign from their jobs and that Republican Roy Moore of Alabama should step aside from running for the Senate. It also blamed the Republican Party for “making sexual assault a partisan issue,” adding: “It’s a crime as is your hypocrisy.”
The Pentagon’s main account retweeted the message to its 5.2 million followers, but quickly reversed course.
Dana White, a Pentagon spokeswoman appointed by the Trump administration, and Army Col. Rob Manning, a military spokesman, said that “an authorized operator” of the Pentagon’s Twitter account “erroneously retweeted content that would not be endorsed by the Department of Defense.” The same individual noticed the error “and immediately deleted it,” they said.
The tweet was posted hours after Leeann Tweeden, a model and broadcaster, shared an account of being forcibly kissed by Franken in 2006, two years before he ran for the Senate. Franken was a comedian at the time, and traveled with Tweeden and other celebrities to the Middle East as part of a USO holiday tour to thank U.S. troops for their service.
The tweet also came as Moore continues to face allegations that he made sexual overtures toward several teenage girls in Alabama when he was in his 30s. Moore has refused to drop out of his Senate race, saying that the accusations are lies.
Trump has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual harassment or assault since the 1980s, and has denied the actions repeatedly.