Damn. Stuck in the tub again. Please send help. Or snacks.
— William Howard Taft (@WilliamTaft27) March 24, 2017
Concerned followers should probably avoid sending the famously rotund 27th president anything lacking gluten.
Helen has introduced this new "gluten-free" menu for my diet tonight.
In other news, would anybody like to have dinner at Morton's tonight?
— William Howard Taft (@WilliamTaft27) March 28, 2017
Taft, stuck in a tub in a gluten-free world, is a dead president very much alive on Twitter, commenting on the peculiarities of modern life and world affairs (“What a disgrace: ‘POTUS declined invitation to throw Opening Day pitch'”) in a way that even living ex-presidents wouldn’t dare.
But there is something about being dead — perhaps proximity to the cloud — that has enabled and liberated not just Taft, but Richard Nixon, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Harry Truman, and even Martin Van Buren to find WiFi hot spots and become engaged again in civic life, though often not in a civil way.
Just the other day, Nixon (@Dick_Nixon), weighed in on Brexit:
We still have a few hundred of these in storage. pic.twitter.com/Zv2qEbmkDs
— Richard M. Nixon (@dick_nixon) March 28, 2017
And on White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who apparently is no Ron Ziegler:
Spicer has the manner of a dog who got thrashed last night, then returns in the morning with the ball in his mouth.
— Richard M. Nixon (@dick_nixon) March 24, 2017
“Nixon” has more than 4o,000 followers, making him the most powerful dead president on Twitter. The account is run Justin Sherin, a young New York playwright who “dug into books, transcripts, and interviews, looking for what drew America to him,” according to an essay he wrote for Vox.com.
Other dead president accounts don’t attract nearly the same following. @MartyVanBuren has under 2,000 followers. @WilliamTaft27 has about 3,000. @PresHarryTruman does a little better with nearly 7,000. That’s because unlike Nixon, their accounts are run largely by an anonymous people who aren’t as committed as Sherin.
Lincoln took such a long hiatus during the recent presidential election cycle that his followers could be forgiven for thinking he was dead.
Sorry it's been a while, folks. Been taking it all in…
— Abraham Lincoln (@Abe_Lincoln) June 2, 2016
In a way, he was probably speaking for a lot voters watching a very strange election unfold. That same day, the former host of The Apprentice — also then the leading GOP candidate for president — tweeted this:
Crooked Hillary Clinton has zero natural talent – she should not be president. Her temperament is bad and her decision making ability-zilch!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2016
But Trump is not the only trash-talking president. Dead presidents can get real nasty with each other, even employing the current president’s use of exclamation points and the CAPS LOCK button.
Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory @MartyVanBuren statements & roadblocks.Thought it was going to be a smooth transition -NOT!
— WilliamHenryHarrison (@TheRealWHH) December 28, 2016
Here's a free tip: wear a thicker coat to your inauguration https://t.co/Q1XcRndUda
— Martin Van Buren (@MartyVanBuren) December 29, 2016
Even on Twitter, history repeats itself. Fascinating!