LONDON — President Trump got the wrong woman, and Twitter users were there to screen-grab the evidence.
Trump’s tweet came about 1 a.m. Thursday London time, when many Brits were fast asleep. The past 24 hours had been unusual in Britain, with the U.S. president having retweeted several videos from the far-right group Britain First on Wednesday.
Taking aim at Prime Minister Theresa May’s sharp rebuke of his actions, Trump wanted May to know he was unhappy with her response. In Trump fashion, he took to Twitter to air his grievances. But he targeted the wrong Theresa May.
The Theresa May targeted by Trump turned out to be not the British prime minister but a woman named Theresa May Scrivener, who had just six Twitter followers and a protected account. Trump’s schoolboy error was met with amazement and amusement, and many Brits were left wondering, “Who in the world is Theresa May Scrivener?”
It didn't take long for eagle-eyed Twitter users to pounce on Trump’s mistake. The presidential error was captured digitally and shared within seconds. The initial tweet reads: “Theresa @theresamay, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!” Trump's tweet was soon deleted.
“The best part about this is that a random woman called Theresa May Scrivener, with 6 followers. just received a diplomatic correspondence by tweet from the US President,” tweeted Gerard Brady, who attached proof of Trump's error.
The best part about this is that a random woman called Theresa May Scrivener, with 6 followers. just received a diplomatic correspondence by tweet from the US President #Trump #TrumpTweets #specialrelationship pic.twitter.com/tSpD1Io14t
— Gerard Brady (@GerardBrady100) November 30, 2017
Fourteen minutes later, Trump tweeted the message again. This time he cited the correct Twitter handle and targeted the actual prime minister of Britain. Trump kept the wording of his second attempt the same.
.@Theresa_May, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017
It didn't take long for news of Trump's error to spread. While many were amused at his misfiring, some spared a thought for Scrivener.
“Poor Theresa Scrivener must have wondered what she had done!” tweeted another.
“Theresa Scrivener is one confused lady right now,” another user wrote.
Aside from the eye-rolling at his gaffe, Trump’s promotion of videos from Britain First and his public swipe at May have triggered anger and concern. #SpecialRelationship began trending on Twitter as hundreds questioned the state of U.S.-British relations. Some accused Trump of interfering with British politics; others suggested that Trump’s visit to Britain should be put on hold, indefinitely. A spokesman for May confirmed that “an invitation for a state visit has been extended and has been accepted.” No further details were provided.
May, who was on a visit to Jordan's capital, Amman, stood her ground with the rebuke of Trump.
“The fact that we work together does not mean that we’re afraid to say when we think the United States has got it wrong and to be very clear with them,” she said. “I’m very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do.”
Scrivener, now known as the “wrong Theresa May,” broke her silence later Thursday. “If I wanted to be famous, I would have gone on ‘X Factor,’ ” Scrivener told the Press Association in an interview, adding: “I was in bed by half 10 last night and oblivious to it all. I'm just waiting for a call from the White House with an apology.”
“It's amazing to think that the world's most powerful man managed to press the wrong button,” she said, adding, “I'm just glad he was not contacting me to say he was going to war with North Korea.”
Describing her bewilderment at becoming involved in a political firestorm, the 41-year-old said: “I haven't been able to leave my house. I've been bombarded and contacted by press from around the world.”
“He needs to think before he tweets,” Scrivener said. “We — Theresa May and I — are so different. Our profiles are completely different. She runs the country, I'm a mum from Bognor.” Bognor Regis is a seaside town in the south of England, quite a way from May's office on Downing Street in Westminster.
Despite Trump's error, Scrivener said she has no plans to change her name to avoid any more aggravation. “Why should I?” she said. “It's my name. I'm not going to change it.
“I hope now I've said my piece I will be left alone.”
This is not the first time Trump has tagged the wrong person in his tweets. The President hastily tweeted the "wrong" Ivanka in January of this year. In an attempt to mention his daughter, Trump accidentally tagged a British woman from the seaside town of Brighton - much to the delight of Twitter users around the world.