In a barrage of puzzling retweets Wednesday morning, President Trump, who usually composes his own Twitter diatribes, relied on fan accounts and supporters to attack Hillary Clinton, General Motors, Robert Mueller’s investigation and the migrant caravans.
The retweets were sandwiched around Trump’s own railings against the Mueller probe and GM. Earlier this week, conservative commentator Jerome Corsi shared part of a potential plea deal offered by Mueller with media outlets, while General Motors announced it would be closing four factories in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland.
The majority of the retweets, which began around 9 a.m., originated with a Twitter account called The Trump Train. The Train has nearly 300,000 followers and uses the same avatar as the president’s own account, @realDonaldTrump. It calls itself a “fan account” and boasts that it has been retweeted by Trump; its owner is anonymous. Most of its tweets echo White House talking points about the migrant caravans, the special counsel investigation and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The account points to a Patreon page for users to contribute to The Trump Train. It currently lists six donors.
One image retweeted by the president is of former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton behind bars, along with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, former attorney general Eric Holder and other prominent Democrats, with the question: “Now that Russia collusion is a proven lie, when do the trials for treason begin?”
The special counsel’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia is still ongoing and its findings have not been announced, although it has resulted in numerous indictments and guilty pleas reaching as high as Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, Paul Manafort.
Also among those pictured behind bars: Rod Rosenstein, the current deputy attorney general.
Trump also retweeted a tweet from @MikePenceVP, a parody account that satirizes the vice president.
“I’m thankful for every day Hillary Clinton is not President!” the six-day-old tweet read.
The president then retweeted a misleading video clip — posted on Oct. 29 by conservative pundit Charlie Kirk — that showed Hillary Clinton correcting an interviewer who confused Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., with former Attorney General Eric Holder.
“I know, they all look alike,” Clinton joked.
Kirk didn’t get the joke.
“WOW — if a conservative said this they would be boycotted and not allowed back in the public arena,” Kirk tweeted. “Hillary said ‘all black people look the same’ — incredibly racist thing to say Hillary! RT!”
And 17,000 followers did retweet Kirk’s comment, including Trump.
It’s not the first time the president has fired off a stream of seemingly reckless retweets.
In August 2017, Trump stirred controversy by retweeting a cartoon meme of a “Trump train” running over a hapless CNN reporter. (That came weeks after Trump posted a video of himself slamming and punching a CNN avatar.) Trump also retweeted a doctored video of himself hitting Hillary Clinton with a golf ball.
And in November, Trump came under fire for retweeting three anti-Muslim videos posted by the leader of a far-right British political group — drawing a sharp rebuke from U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, who said Trump was “wrong” to share them.
Reckless retweeting has gotten other members of the administration into trouble.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said early Wednesday that he deleted a retweet on his official Twitter account the night before, posted by someone else — presumably a staffer — without his authorization.
The tweet that was retweeted and then deleted by Mnuchin — suggesting General Motors should return the bailout funds it received during the financial crisis — was retweeted by Trump.
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