On Thursday night around 7 p.m. ET, the unthinkable happened: The Tweeter-in-Chief disappeared from his beloved platform.
President Trump’s verified @realDonaldTrump account went offline. All it said was “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!”
Within minutes, it reappeared — his tweets intact.
One of the social media site’s verified accounts later explained that Trump’s account was “down for 11 minutes” and was “inadvertently deactivated due to a human error by a Twitter employee.”
But Twitter lit up with speculation, conspiracy theories, and plenty of sarcastic jokes about Trump’s brief exodus.
“In that moment, ‘Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!’ [Trump] truly became President,” one user wrote.
“That was like .003 Scaramuccis,” wrote another use, referring to the president’s short-lived communications director.
“If Trump’s Twitter is down, does this technically mean he’s no longer POTUS? I mean, it’s the only part of the job he pays attention to,” another said.
Some users, like New Republic editor Jeet Heer, mocked the furor. One tweet from Heer read, “Wait, Trump’s twitter account has disappeared. Is this how we do coups now?”
Others speculated about whether Twitter barred Trump from the platform.
Perhaps one of the most defining elements of his presidency, Trump’s Twitter use consistently makes headlines.
Trump often uses the platform to levy attacks publicly. Those on the receiving end of his tweets include Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill who he views as roadblocks to his policy initiatives. The press has often been the subject of vitriolic tweets. And NFL players who kneel during the anthem to protest racial injustice have been targets of @realDonaldTrump.
Perhaps most notably, however, Trump has also used Twitter to lash out at North Korea, the rogue Asian nation that claims to have a newly bolstered nuclear arsenal.
“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” Trump tweeted in September, using his choice nickname for North Korea leader Kim Jong-un.
The North Korean government claimed the tweet constituted a declaration of war.
Many called for Trump to be booted from the platform, arguing his tweets — which often seem to be typed out on a whim — could plunge America into a nuclear war.
But Twitter declined to bar Trump’s account, saying it must weigh the newsworthiness of Trump’s tweets with its violent rhetoric.