Did President Trump's team appear to delete tweets where he used "invaders" to describe immigrants in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton attacks? No, that's not true: Tweets using the words "invaders" and "invasion" remained on the president's Twitter timeline a day after mass casualty shootings of August 3 and 4, 2019.
The false claim originated in various social media posts, including this tweet (archived here) published by "lawyer, writer, quipster, wonk" Amee Vanderpool on August 4, 2019. It read:
In light of El Paso and Dayton and the focus on white nationalist rhetoric, Trump's team has appeared to delete tweets where he used "invaders" to describe immigrants. This is a violation of the The Presidential Records Act of 1978 (44 USC §§ 2201-2207). #daytonshooter
This is what social media users saw:
In light of El Paso and Dayton and the focus on white nationalist rhetoric, Trump's team has appeared to delete tweets where he used "invaders" to describe immigrants. This is a violation of the The Presidential Records Act of 1978 (44 USC §§ 2201-2207). #daytonshooter pic.twitter.com/OP8QgHUq2k-- Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) August 4, 2019
Vanderpool, whose Twitter profile said she is a contributor to Playboy and a commentator for the BBC, argued it was a violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1978, since the White House has acknowledged Trump's tweets are presidential statements. Other Twitter accounts made the same charge, suggesting Trump aides were trying to clean up the president's record of using the same language -- specifically "invaders" and "invasions" --that accused El Paso shooter Patrick Crusius used in a "manifesto" posted online minutes before the mall massacre that killed 20 people and wounded another 26:
This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought own by an invasion.
Several candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination put blame on President Trump for inspiring the shooting with anti-immigrant rhetoric. Lead Stories is not addressing that claim in this article, just the deleted tweet accusation. Journalist Michelangelo Signorile, who hosts a radio show in SiriusXM, also tweeted the false deleted tweet claim:
Why would Trump -- or his aides -- be deleting his tweets that refer to immigrants as 'invaders" if they have nothing to be guilty about?-- Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) August 4, 2019
And do they seriously think there aren't records, screen caps of all of his tweets of the past?
But the tweets did not disappear, as CNN "Reliable Sources" host Brian Stelter pointed out to Vanderpool:
Looks like they are still up. Here's one of them. https://t.co/V3i167RUBL-- Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 4, 2019
Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake also debunked the claim in a response to Vanderpool,
This is going viral, but it's not true. Many tweets about "invade" and "invasion" remain.https://t.co/tTrxB6ZLAzhttps://t.co/xWQLtaYRVA-- Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) August 4, 2019
Even the tweet linked here wasn't about "invaders." It was his original El Paso tweet, which he deleted and then re-posted. pic.twitter.com/gnoT9ExVNR
Finally, Vanderpool acknowledged she was wrong:
UPDATE: The tweets about foreigners invading attached above are still posted. Trump HAS deleted the tweets shown below (see: https://t.co/RQPFu1XvRs and https://t.co/XHWlKAc377) to allegedly clear the negative comments attached to them.-- Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) August 5, 2019
This is STILL a violation of the PRE. pic.twitter.com/4fZmeHQ47P
Still, Vanderpool's intial tweet was retweeted thousands of times.
You can see a "BAD INFORMATION ALERT" confirming this at Factbase:
BAD INFORMATION ALERT
August 4, 2019 Note:
While @realDonaldTrump has deleted more than 500 tweets, none of the 13 tweets using the root of the word "invade" nor the 9 tweets using the word "infest" have been deleted. You can use the search on the page to confirm. All are still public and on his Twitter feed.
Three tweets total have been deleted in August as of 8/4/19 @ 8:50 pm ET. There is no change in his delete pattern.
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