Biden’s White House gets fiery on Twitter

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The White House Twitter account under President Biden hasn’t been the most exciting corner of the internet. After four years of unpredictable and captivating tweets from @realDonaldTrump, the White House account has been silent and unassuming, largely regurgitating press releases and explaining Biden’s policies.

Of course, there are still tweets touting Biden’s policies and how they will help people. But the White House account this week decided to hit back in an unusually fiery — and personal — way after a number of Republicans hammered Biden’s decision to erase up to $20,000 in student debt for many borrowers.

When Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) criticized the loan forgiveness, the White House tweeted a clip of Greene slamming the decision and added, “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene got $183,504 in forgiven PPP loans. “, referring to the covid-era Paycheck Protection Program, which provided loans to businesses.

It didn’t stop there. In a series of five other tweets, the White House targeted other Republicans who had criticized the decision with the same pattern: reminding Americans that those same lawmakers had hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in canceled loans in the process. part of the Paycheck Protection Program, while attaching video clips or tweets from lawmakers.

Republicans say the PPP program still included a forgiveness provision for those who met certain criteria, while those who took out student loans had to repay them in full.

But the tweets from the White House managed to change the conversation, and they didn’t go unnoticed. Democrats responded enthusiastically, with nearly 200,000 people retweeting the thread and more than 700,000 liking it Friday afternoon, making it one of the most engaged tweets from the White House. The White House account gained more than 49,000 followers on Thursday and more than 71,000 on Friday, far more than the few thousand it typically earns per day, according to data from Social Blade.

“Hey, WH staff, just so you know, if you continue to drag these hypocrites around with clear and hard-hitting messages, you are at serious risk to enthusiasm, electoral success and the continued betterment of the lives of millions. of people. of Americans,” author Scott Lynch wrote in response to the tweet.

“You don’t have to agree with the student loan forgiveness to agree that it’s a pretty impressive response from the White House,” wrote Miles Taylor, a former Trump official who has since left the office. Republican Party.

“I’m so here for these @White House tweets,” Monica Lewinsky wrote.

The GOP has also sought to embrace hard-hitting one-liners who can perform so well on social media. The Republican National Committee recently tweeted, “Someone needs to tell Joe Biden he can’t always be on vacation,” along with a photo of Biden on a bike ride and a “Report Form.” leave request” with “Denied” in red letters. .

But for the White House, the hard-hitting new tone appears to be part of a revamped strategy leading up to November’s midterm elections, with Biden increasingly attacking Republicans directly and sometimes by name. On Thursday, Biden accused the GOP of “semi-fascism” and said he couldn’t work with “MAGA Republicans.”

White House officials privately acknowledge they are trying to free up more zingers, but they also said Biden has called out Republicans in the past and pointed to the president’s earlier tweets. In a, Biden called Governor Ron DeSantis and the senses. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, all Florida Republicans, for their opposition to an assault weapons ban.

“We’ve never been shy about crying hypocrisy, and we’re not going to stop now,” White House spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna said.

Still, the new strategy appears to reflect growing optimism within the administration as polls showed rising approval ratings for Biden and growing enthusiasm among Democrats, with many becoming more engaged following the court’s overturn. supreme. Roe vs. Wade earlier this summer.

The White House also recently hired Megan Coyne as Deputy Director of Platforms in its Office of Digital Strategy. Coyne caught the eye of Democrats for bringing humor and punch to a New Jersey state-run account with tweets that went viral.

It was unclear if she was behind Thursday’s tweets, but on her Twitter account on Thursday she shared a screenshot showing that “The White House” was a hot topic on Twitter with a smiley face.

Biden fell behind other Democrats who got more creative with their social media in ways that got supporters excited.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, for example, ran an ad in Florida last month targeting DeSantis and warning state residents that freedom was under threat in their state. Florida Republicans fought back, but many Democrats welcomed the move.

And Pennsylvania Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who is running against Republican Mehmet Oz for a US Senate seat, has used memes about Oz’s wealth and how many houses he owns to such effect. that the hard-fought race drifted in favor of Fetterman. . Fetterman’s team also demonstrated their mastery of social media trends.

In one particularly popular tweet, Fetterman employed “Jersey Shore” star Snooki to troll Oz about allegedly having more ties to New Jersey than Pennsylvania, a frequent theme of Fetterman’s campaign.

Democratic strategists said they welcomed the fiery new approach to the White House Twitter account.

“For a very long time now, so many activists within the Democratic Party have wanted to see the Democrats – and obviously the president – in terms of tone and candor, start fighting fire with fire,” said Kurt Bardella, a former Republican who now consults for Democrats.

The White House narrative, Bardella added, “shows a certain personality that we haven’t seen from this administration yet, and it was incredibly effective. We saw that had a very galvanizing impact on how the Democratic apparatus responded to it. There was an excitement there that also fits the moment we find ourselves in right now.

Drew Harwell contributed to this report.




Washington

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