When he assumes the presidency in less than a week, will Donald Trump make the final transition to power, setting aside his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account and his penchant for petty feuds to adopt the @POTUS account, currently held by Barack Obama, and the shred of dignity that comes with it? Nah.
As the President-Elect told the UK's Sunday Times while singing the praises of Brexit, he plans to continue his use of the @realDonaldTrump account, a handle more befitting of Trump's early-morning rages against dire threats like Saturday Night Light Live and Meryl Streep.
As he told the Sunday Times, inflating the numbers in typical fashion.
@realDonaldTrump I think, I’ll keep it ... so I’ve got 46 million people right now — that’s a lot, that’s really a lot — but 46 million — including Facebook, Twitter and ya know, Instagram, so when you think that you’re 46 million there, I’d rather just let that build up and just keep it @realDonaldTrump, it’s working — and the tweeting, I thought I’d do less of it, but I’m covered so dishonestly by the press — so dishonestly — that I can put out Twitter — and it’s not 140, it’s now 280 — I can go bing bing bing . . . and they put it on and as soon as I tweet it out — this morning on television, Fox — ‘Donald Trump, we have breaking news’.
Bing bing bing and he's on Fox News. That's how it works, and Trump doesn't mind revealing the process to us and perhaps broadcast media should reconsider repeating his every asinine tweet from here on out?
But first, a look at the math: @realDonaldTrump has 20 million followers, not 46 million which likely includes a lot of overlapping followers on other social media, but that kind of addition is par for the course with Trump, whose eponymous Manhattan tower has 58 floors but whose top floor is labeled its 68th. Similarly, on Twitter, there are still just 140 characters allotted per tweet, not 280, as Trump claims in the quote above. The President-Elect may be using his slippery grip on numbers to refer to the fact that Twitter no longer counts the characters in hyperlinks, media attachments, and handles for "@" replies toward the 140 character limit.
These statements also recall Trump's claim, on Twitter, that he won the popular vote "when you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." Of course that's not true, and as CNN records, Clinton swept the popular vote by nearly three million votes, but who cares, right?
More accurate with regard to Trump's following is the claim on FiveThirtyEight that some of @realDonaldTrump's Twitter followers were bought and paid for. Their analysis was done in April of 2016, when Trump had far fewer than 46 million or even 20 million followers, just 7.58 million of them, and at the time, roughly three quarters of them had fewer than 100 followers themselves. Nearly 10 percent of his followers were verifiably fake accounts.
In the end, Trump's claim that' he'll maintain his current account is good news for the dignity of the @POTUS account (if not the office it represents), which does have fewer followers than @realDonaldTrump, 13.5 million of them. Trump himself is not among that number, as @realDonaldTrump does not follow the @POTUS account.
And for those holding out hope that Twitter will put a stop to Trump's irascible tweeting, it's good news too. It would seem more likely that the San Francisco-based company would suspend the @realDonaldTrump than the one explicitly reserved for the leader of the free world, @POTUS. We can only hope, and for now, we'll keep bing bing bing-ing about it.