Perhaps the biggest lesson in 21st-century politics: The Internet never forgets.
On Tuesday, Michael Cohen, the president’s former longtime attorney and fixer, pleaded guilty to a host of charges including tax evasion and bank fraud.
Soon after the former Trump confidante entered his pleas at a Manhattan federal courthouse, comedian Kathy Griffin and others jumped on a tweet Cohen sent in December 2015 that read: “@HillaryClinton when you go to prison for defrauding America and perjury, your room and board will be free!”
As of Wednesday morning, the tweet is gone (though a cached version can still be found here).
A representative for Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, did not immediately return a request for comment.
The tweet was sent as the Trump presidential campaign took aim at Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Yet Tuesday was not the first time it resurfaced to haunt Cohen. The message bounced around social media in April after the FBI collected evidence for a fraud probe.
In his plea, Cohen implicated Trump directly in some of his acts and said he arranged to pay off two women to keep their stories of alleged affairs with Trump from becoming public before Election Day — in coordination with the then-candidate.
Cohen faces a recommended prison sentence of 46 to 63 months, according to court filings — the apparent ironic twist that fueled circulation of the now-deleted tweet.
On Wednesday, Trump mocked Cohen, tweeting that, “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!”
It was the president’s first social media salvo about Cohen after the pleas, which coincided Tuesday with guilty verdicts against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. ‘Justice’ took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break' — make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’ Such respect for a brave man!” Trump said on Twitter.
Trump later sent a third and final (for now, anyway) tweet referring to Cohen, with an apparent reference to heavy fines levied against the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.
“Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!”
Devlin Barrett, Carol D. Leonnig, Philip Bump and Renae Merle contributed to this report.