The truth about Romney’s covert username came in part thanks to a profile published in The Atlantic on Sunday in which, in passing, the reporter noted that the former presidential candidate and regular Donald Trump critic kept a Twitter account of his own.
“He tweets so much,” Romney, 72, said of Trump, 73, who has regularly snapped back at Romney on social media.
Romney’s Twitter account (“What do they call me, a lurker?”) was a way for him to stay in the mix online but still be under the radar, according to The Atlantic.
He demurred on identifying it, but his profile provided some clues, including the amount of his Twitter followers and who he himself was following, such as athletes and Conan O’Brien.
Slate’s Ashley Feinberg — who previously went deep figuring out former FBI Director James Comey’s secret Twitter account — took it from there.
On Sunday night, she announced that “i *believe* i may have found mitt romney’s secret twitter account.” Her accompanying article laid out a lot of circumstantial evidence that an account begun in July 2011, using the name “Pierre Delecto,” was in fact Romney’s.
That same night, speaking with The Atlantic in a followup interview, Romney confirmed it was: “C’est moi.”
At the time that Feinberg found the account, which has since been made private, Romney had tweeted only 10 times, many of them in recent months and none of them until 2015.
The tweets were all replies and almost all messages defending Romney (aka himself).
He also “liked” tweets defending him and criticizing Trump, according to Feinberg.
In the Atlantic piece, Romney discussed how he viewed Trump, his career and his role now.
He has been one of the president’s most high-profile Republican critics and, as a Senator, wields power over him in Congress that many others do not. At the same time, he’s faced much criticism that his disputes with the president are cosmetic: He does nothing beyond complain about Trump, detractors say.
He has responded to this on his secret Twitter account, according to Slate. In June, he tweeted back at former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, who said he had an “utter lack of a moral compass.”
“Only Republican to hit Trump on Meuller [sic] report, only one to hit Trump on character time and again, so Soledad, you think he’s the one without moral compass?” he wrote, according to a screenshot from Feinberg.
But why the username? Feinberg had no hunches, though one Twitter user noted the last name means “I delight” in Latin.
“I don’t look at myself as being a historical figure,” Romney told The Atlantic, “but I do think these are critical times. And I hope that what I’m doing will open the way for people to take a different path.”
“I’m not in the White House,” he said. “I tried for that job; I didn’t get it. So all I can do from where I am is to say, ‘All right, how do we get things done from here?’ ”