President-elect Trump appears to have no more self-control than candidate Trump. This orange cat just can’t manage to change his spots. Legal questions about maintaining presidential records were raised when he deleted a Tweet critical of the cast of Hamilton last week.
The Tweeter-in-Chief won’t be able to hide his regrettable tweets though — for two reasons.
First of all, it’s the law.
Back in 2009, the White House issued an official determination that social media content, specifically citing Facebook and Twitter, is subject to the Presidential Records Act of 1978. Trump is legally compelled to obtain the consent of the Archivist of the United States at the National Archives and Records Administration prior to deleting any public communication.
Of course, we all know that the letter of the law won’t prevent Trump from hitting delete. That brings us to the second reason the impulsive president-elect’s gaffes and blunders will remain in the public domain.
His deleted Tweets will be archived through a cooperative agreement between Twitter and ProPublica — who are currently in the process of taking over the service which originated at the Sunlight Foundation. (Sunlight isn’t dropping the ball, but passing it to another excellent organization, while they are refocusing on blunting the effects of the Citizens United ruling.)
The Twitter project is called Politwoops, and it collects and publishes the deleted Tweets of all high-profile politicians. Most of them are examples of poor grammar or spelling, but there are some real gems to be found too.
The hand-off appears to be a work in progress, leaving the data a bit spotty at this time, but we can be confident that as ProPublica gets its tech labs up and running, there will be plenty of ill-thought Tweets to consider from the future President.
While we wait for Politwoops to go fully online, there’s always the NYTs compilation of Trump’s mean-tweets to review.
And of course — apologies to orange cats.