National Archives can’t resurrect Trump’s tweets, Twitter says

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National Archives can’t resurrect Trump’s tweets, Twitter says

NARA spokesperson James Pritchett said that while the National Archives “is still exploring the best way” to make the @realDonaldTrump archiv

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NARA spokesperson James Pritchett said that while the National Archives “is still exploring the best way” to make the @realDonaldTrump archival content public, the agency would defer to Twitter on whether that archive should be available on the social media site and would still post the preserved tweets to the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library website.

Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy also said the company’s teams “are working with NARA on the preservation of” @realDonaldTrump’s tweets, “as is standard with any administration transition.”

Twitter, though, is adamant that no version of @realDonaldTrump’s tweets reappear on its platform. The company permanently suspended Trump’s personal account in January, accusing him of repeatedly glorifying violence after a throng of his supporters staged a deadly rampage through the Capitol. It had previously slapped warning labels on a number of Trump’s tweets, including one last spring in which he warned that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

“Given that we permanently suspended @realDonaldTrump, the content from the account will not appear on Twitter as it did previously or as archived administration accounts do currently, regardless of how NARA decides to display the data it has preserved,” Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy said in an email. “Administration accounts that are archived on the service are accounts that were not in violation of the Twitter Rules.”

Nevertheless, the process of preserving @realDonaldTrump’s tweets remains underway, NARA’s Pritchett said, and since the account is banned from Twitter, federal archivists are “working to make the exported content available … as a download” on the Trump Presidential Library website.

“Twitter is solely responsible for the decision of what content is available on their platform,” Pritchett said. “NARA works closely with Twitter and other social media platforms to maintain archived social accounts from each presidential administration, but ultimately the platform owners can decline to host these accounts. NARA preserves platform independent copies of social media records and is working to make that content available to the public.”

Pritchett confirmed that NARA’s record will include all of @realDonaldTrump’s tweets, regardless of the actions Twitter took against some of them. “NARA intends to provide public access to all captured and preserved Presidential Record social media, including any blocked or deleted Tweets that have been transferred to us,” he said.

While @realDonaldTrump will remain banned from Twitter even in archival form, at least 45 other personal accounts of Trump administration officials are available on Twitter as archives maintained by NARA, including those of former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SHSanders45) and former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino (@Scavino45). Those archived accounts — as well as archived versions of institutional Twitter accounts such as @POTUS45 and @PressSec45 — can also be found linked to Twitter from the Trump Presidential Library website.

As it stands, though, no official record exists of the more than 26,000 tweets Trump issued from @realDonaldTrump while in office. And although they can be viewed at some independent online databases, the hold-up at NARA has watchdog groups arguing that those websites are insufficient substitutes for an impartial federal clearinghouse.

“NARA needs to work pretty efficiently to get those up,” said Melissa Wasser, policy counsel at the Project On Government Oversight, adding that “the third-party websites are great, but we need a full, complete record by NARA.”

Meanwhile, social media sites are continuing to weigh how to handle posts that reiterate Trump rhetoric they have identified as dangerous. Last week, Facebook removed a video that featured the former president speaking in an interview with his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump. The company said the post was blocked because it was “in the voice of Donald Trump.” Facebook’s independent oversight board, which has the power to overturn the company’s decisions, is considering whether to order Trump’s account reinstated.

Twitter’s @realDonaldTrump ban has drawn harsh criticism from Republicans but also provoked qualms from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who said during a podcast interview last month that he did not “feel particularly comfortable” about the company’s ability to silence a former president. “Yesterday, it was Donald Trump who was banned, and tomorrow, it could be somebody else who has a very different point of view,” he said, adding: “I don’t like giving that much power to a handful of high-tech people.”

But Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has defended the permanent suspension of the former president as the “right decision” for handling “an extraordinary and untenable” situation. “Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” he wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread posted days after the company’s action.

Trump’s post-presidential office did not respond to a request for comment on whether the Trump administration transferred a record of @realDonaldTrump’s tweets as president to NARA at the end of his term. Trump’s office also did not answer whether Trump had taken any measures to restrict access to his archived tweets — as is permitted in certain cases by the Presidential Records Act.

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