@MikePenceVP is not the vice president’s Twitter account. There’s no blue verified check mark, and the account’s bio notes that it is a “fan account” of the vice president, whose official handle is @VP.
On Wednesday morning, the president retweeted @MikePenceVP. “I’m thankful for every day Hillary Clinton is not President!” the tweet read. The original tweet was a few days old — from Thanksgiving.
The president’s Twitter bursts have a history of dipping into the online culture of his supporters — and into the misinformation worlds that feed some of the memes that go viral there. But over the past 12 hours, @realDonaldTrump has churned out the Twitter equivalent of a greatest hits album.
Here is a guide to what he wrote — and the online places that may have inspired the tweets.
10:38 p.m. Tuesday: Trump explains an old Photoshop meme about Brenda Snipes
On the evening of an election in Mississippi, the president tweeted a swipe at a supervisor of elections in a completely different state: Brenda Snipes of Broward County, Fla.
The source of this tweet appears to be an old meme, one with likely origins on the r/The_Donald message board on Reddit. On Nov. 10, as the election results in Florida were still unsettled, someone on the board altered a picture of Snipes to make it look as if she were wearing dozens of “I Voted” stickers. It’s not a particularly good alteration, and it was probably never meant to be: The image was a meme, created in the midst of a MAGA Internet push to make the claim that the Florida elections were being “stolen” go viral.
As Mediaite noted, the image in question did the rounds on the right-wing Internet, ending up everywhere from white-supremacist blogs to Mike Huckabee’s Twitter account. Huckabee tweeted the meme on Nov. 14, toward the end of its useful life as a joke for Trump supporters. That is, until the president tweeted that Snipes was “just spotted” wearing “300 I VOTED signs.”
8:39 a.m. Wednesday: Trump attacks the special counsel
A tweet in which the president is mad about special prosecutor Robert Mueller is not particularly notable these days. As The Washington Post’s John Wagner noted, the tweet begins the third day in a row that Trump has fired off angry tweets about the investigation into possible coordination between his presidential campaign and Russia.
Just after 8:39 a.m.: Trump retweets the Trump Train
Choo-choo, here we go.
Trump retweeted popular MAGA Twitter account “The Trump Train” four times on Wednesday morning. The four tweets contained, in order:
1) A meme showing several political figures in jail for “treason,” including Mueller and former president Barack Obama.
2) The observation that “if GM doesn’t want to keep their jobs in the United States, they should pay back the $11.2 billion bailout that was funded by the American taxpayer.”
4) Some media analysis:
Some time between 8:39 a.m. and 9:43 a.m.: Trump retweets a well-known fake account of Vice President Pence
As we mentioned above, Trump retweeted @MikePenceVP, a pro-Trump account that impersonates Pence online. This was the tweet:
It’s not clear whether Trump assumed the account belonged to Pence or whether he was simply rebroadcasting a semi-viral tweet from MAGA Twitter. The account holder, whose bio says that the account’s goal is “to expose liberal hypocrisy and Fake News Bias,” seems interested in making sure the president’s supporters know it’s satire. At the time Trump retweeted it to his 56 million followers, the account’s name displayed as “The Vice President.” The account holder has since changed it to “VP FAN.”
This isn’t the first time @MikePenceVP has gained notoriety. It’s been popular on MAGA Twitter for a while — mainly for its success at fooling liberals and journalists into thinking it’s the real Pence. In 2017, I wrote about how this account was designed to provoke a response from liberals and succeeded at it in the early days of the Trump administration.
Sometime between 8:39 a.m. and 9:43 a.m.: More old memes
In a late October interview, Hillary Clinton attempted a joke. She was correcting a moderator, who confused Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former attorney general Eric Holder. The joke attempt was: “Yeah, I know they all look alike.”
On the right-wing Internet, Clinton’s quip was taken as either evidence of liberal hypocrisy or a literal statement of belief, and memed into oblivion. On Wednesday, Trump retweeted two of the many tweets to come out of that deluge:
9:43 a.m.: Trump promises that solutions to General Motors plant closures are “being studied”
Back to tweeting about GM . . .