NARA spokesman James Pritchett said that while the National Archives is still “exploring how best” to make @realDonaldTrump archival content public, the agency would defer to Twitter to see if these archives should be available on the social media site and would still post the preserved tweets on the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library website.
Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy also said the company’s teams “are working with NARA on preserving the ‘@ realDonaldTrump’ tweets, as is the case with any administrative transition.
Twitter, however, 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 mob of his supporters staged a deadly rampage across the Capitol. He had previously slapped warning labels on a number of Trump’s tweets, including one last spring in which he warned that “when the looting begins, the shooting begins.”
“Since we have permanently suspended @realDonaldTrump, account content will not appear on Twitter as it previously did or as archived admin accounts currently do, regardless of how NARA decides to. display the data it preserved, ”Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy said. in an email. “The administration accounts that are archived on the service are accounts that have not broken Twitter rules.”
Nonetheless, the process of preserving @ realDonaldTrump’s tweets remains ongoing, NARA’s Pritchett said, and since the account was banned on Twitter, federal archivists “have been working to make exported content available … for download” on the Trump Presidential Library website.
“Twitter is solely responsible for the decision regarding the content available on their platform,” said Pritchett. “NARA works closely with Twitter and other social media platforms to keep the archived social accounts of each presidential administration, but ultimately the owners of the platform can refuse to host these accounts. NARA maintains platform independent copies of social media recordings and strives to make such content available to the public. “
Pritchett confirmed that NARA’s file will include all @ realDonaldTrump tweets, regardless of actions Twitter has taken against some of them. “NARA intends to provide public access to all captured and preserved social media from the Presidential File, including any blocked or deleted Tweets that have been forwarded 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 the former attache. White House press Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@ SHSanders45) and former Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino (@ Scavino45). These 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, however, there is no official record of the more than 26,000 tweets Trump issued by @realDonaldTrump during his tenure. And while they can be viewed in some independent online databases, the heist at NARA has some watch groups arguing that these websites are not insufficient substitutes for an impartial federal clearinghouse.
“NARA has to work efficiently enough to get them,” said Melissa Wasser, policy advisor at Project On Government Oversight, adding that “third-party websites are great, but we need a full and complete NARA dossier.”
Meanwhile, social media sites continue to weigh in on how to handle posts that reiterate Trump’s rhetoric they have identified as dangerous. Last week, Facebook deleted a video in which the former president was speaking during an interview with his stepdaughter, Lara Trump. The company said the post was blocked because it was “in Donald Trump’s voice.” Facebook’s independent supervisory board, which has the power to override company decisions, is considering whether to order the reinstatement of Trump’s account.
The ban of @realDonaldTrump from Twitter drew heavy criticism from Republicans, but also prompted qualms from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Who said in a podcast interview last month that ‘he wasn’t particularly comfortable with the company’s ability to silence a former president. “Yesterday it was Donald Trump who was banned, and tomorrow it could be someone else who has a very different point of view,” he said, adding: “I don’t like give so much power to a handful of senior – the technicians.
But Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended the permanent suspension of the former president as the “right decision” to manage an “extraordinary and untenable” situation. “The offline damage resulting from online talk is clearly real, and what drives our policy and our enforcement above all else,” he wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread published 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 recording of @ realDonaldTrump’s tweets as president to NARA at the end of his term. Trump’s office has also not responded if Trump has taken steps to restrict access to his archived tweets – as allowed in some cases by the Presidential Archives Act.