From the 'voice of New Jersey' to Washington: Meet the woman behind the White House Twitter account that called out critics of Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness plan

·3 min read
George Washington University student Kai Nilsen and other student loan debt activists rally outside the White House a day after President Biden announced a plan that would cancel $10,000 in student loan debt for those making less than $125,000 a year in Washington, DC, on August 25, 2022.
George Washington University student Kai Nilsen and other student loan debt activists rally outside the White House a day after President Biden announced a plan that would cancel $10,000 in student loan debt for those making less than $125,000 a year in Washington, DC, on August 25, 2022.Photo by Craig Hudson for The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • The White House Twitter account called out critics of Biden's student loan forgiveness plan.

  • It was a change of tone for the account, which previously posted informative but tame tweets.

  • The New Jersey Globe reported that Megan Coyne, from Livingston, NJ, was behind the tweets.

On Thursday, The White House Twitter account began to trend on Twitter as people reacted to a series of tweets that called out naysayers of Biden's student loan forgiveness plan.

As Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene criticized the plan, the account quote-tweeted their remarks, naming the amount of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans the federal government had forgiven for the two republicans.

The tweets gained hundreds of thousands of likes and reactions.

 

It was a marked change of tone for the account, which previously posted informative but tame tweets about press briefings and COVID-19.

Noticing the change, one user tweeted, "The White House Twitter account has gone goblin mode."

But for the person behind the account, the attention wasn't new.

While she hasn't publicly claimed the tweets, The New Jersey Globe, a local political news site run by David Wildstein, a former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official turned journalist, reported that Megan Coyne was behind the account's new, witty tone.

According to her LinkedIn, prior to joining the Biden administration as the deputy director of platforms in August, Coyne worked as a social media director for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. She joined his office for about 4.5 years after graduating from Rutgers University in 2019 where she studied political science.

The New Jersey Globe dubbed Coyne the "voice of New Jersey" in their article for her work on the @NJGov account, the official social media account for the state government. Her posts were known to be infused with humor, wit, and sometimes snark.

When one person tweeted, "Who let New Jersey have a Twitter," the response from the @NJGov account was "your mom" which went viral.

In 2019, Lori Ciesla, a Republican former councilwoman, told NorthJersey.com she was amused by the account and didn't know two women were behind it. "It totally makes sense that they're Jersey girls, because we're classy yet sassy," she said.

The account became such a success that The New York Times did a story on Coyne and her boss Pearl Gabel, the administration's digital director, in 2020.

"New Jersey's been kind of the butt of national jokes for so long," Coyne told the Times. "It has not the best reputation among people, and we really wanted to change that."

In response to the online reaction to The White House's tweets, Coyne posted this screenshot of the account trending on Twitter with a smiley face:

Coyne did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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