The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Dead presidents are mouthing off on Twitter. Nixon won’t shut up.

Taft and Nixon, dead president Tweeters.

Can someone check on President Taft?

Concerned followers should probably avoid sending the famously rotund 27th president anything lacking gluten.

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:

And on White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who apparently is no Ron Ziegler:

“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

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.

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:

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.

Even on Twitter, history repeats itself. Fascinating!