President Donald Trump constantly brags about his ability to use Twitter to circumvent the mainstream media and speak directly to his followers, and to a large extent, he’s right.
He’s used the microblogging platform to fire a Veterans’ Affairs secretary and a secretary of state as well as to announce a series of policies. Unfortunately, the president doesn’t really understand how the platform works. That ineptitude is never more glaring than on the not uncommon occasions when he tags the wrong person in a tweet.
The most memorable instance of mistaken Twitter identity was the bizarre moment when Trump tagged the wrong Theresa May in a tweet. That blunder unfolded in late November after British Prime Minister Theresa May criticized the president for retweeting a series of anti-Islam videos posted by a far-right extremist group in the U.K.
Instead of dinging the PM, Trump linked to an account with only six followers who has only sent out nine tweets. The actual user behind the account was later tracked down by BBC and told the network “I’m just glad he was not contacting me to say he was going to war with North Korea.”
The forehead-slapping blunder was etched further into history when Saturday Night Live lampooned it on Weekend Update with Theresa May (as portrayed by Kate McKinnon) grinning into the camera and quipping “the bitch tagged the wrong Theresa May.”
May isn’t the only head of state who Trump has confused on Twitter. After a visit to France in July of 2017, he thanked the people of the European nation for their hospitality and tagged @EmanuelleMacron, which is a parody account. French President Emmanuel Macron’s handle is @EmmanuelMacron. That tweet has since been deleted.
This entire debacle is even more bizarre when you remember that press conference from the summer of 2017 when then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer admitted that Trump’s tweets are official White House statements, saying “the president is the President of the United States, so they’re considered official statements by the President of the United States.”
Before he was elected, Trump’s tagging was even more shoddy.
Of the more notable names, he tagged the wrong Macy’s, the wrong Master’s golf tournament and in one tweet, it appears that he meant to tag Martin Scorsese but didn’t tag anybody at all.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2015
A great @The Masters. The course looks so beautiful. Fantastic for golf and television ratings!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2015
"@JamieScoins: Would you approve of Martin @ Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola ever directing a movie of your life ? Would be fascinating!"
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2015
Not all of his misplaced tweets are attacks either. On July 21, 2016, he meant to thank Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for endorsing him but instead tagged @ScottWalker6—a handle belonging to Scott Walker, a WSDU news anchor in New Orleans.
This is comical. pic.twitter.com/EUeGUnH1vR
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker6) July 21, 2016
On October 27, 2017, Trump wished country singer Lee Greenwood (who rose to fame for his ubiquitous tune “God Bless the USA”) a happy birthday. But he tagged the wrong Greenwood, instead linking to a New York City lawyer who responded, “I get this a fair amount, but certainly not at this level.”
But the most embarrassing of these friendly tweets has to be the doozy that he sent out a few days before his inauguration. In that message, he retweeted someone who tagged @Ivanka instead of @IvankaTrump. Instead of alerting the first daughter, the tweet went to a woman in England.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2017
The inability to assure that he’s tagged the right account is one of many of Trump’s technical faults when tweeting. His grammar and spelling are horrendous and typos are a regular occurrence. He also seemed unaware that Twitter allows for “threads.” When he finally got the hang of that, he immediately screwed it up by linking tweets that are unrelated.
Most of these accounts that Trump is tagging are official handles, and boast one of Twitter’s coveted blue check marks. So it should be pretty easy for the leader of the free world to ensure that he’s not insulting random foreign citizens.
But, then again, what can you expect from a 71-year-old man using a 12-year-old technology?