File this under Too Good To Check. It turns out that Mitt Romney (or possibly one of his aides, probably both) has been running a fake Romney supporting Twitter account for years. He’s even admitted to it after being outed by a reporter at Slate. But it’s the name that really gives this story that special chef’s kiss. Mitt went with “Pierre Delecto” as his pseudonym. And I think we can all admit that it’s about the best fake Twitter name imaginable. (WaPo)
For years, Pierre Delecto’s presence on Twitter largely went unnoticed. Operating a bare-bones account with the handle “@qaws9876,” the user’s limited activity only revealed an interest in politics — namely supporting Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah). So when “Pierre Delecto” started trending Sunday on the social media platform, people were understandably confused.
“Why are we talking about Pierre Delecto,” one person asked.
“WTH is a Pierre Delecto & why is everyone going crazy about it?” another wanted to know.
On Sunday, Twitter users lost their collective minds when they learned that “Pierre Delecto” wasn’t a bot or a random Romney superfan, but an account created by the Republican senator himself.
Romney took the account private almost immediately, but give him credit for owning up to it with style. When asked if he was really the account owner, Mitt answered “C’est moi.”
As “scandals” go, I’m not sure that this one winds up amounting to much. I suppose it’s technically a violation of Twitter’s rules about using fake identities so they could cancel it if they wanted to, but what’s the point now, really?
Also, it’s not as if he’s being accused of posting pornography or anything really salacious. All he appears to have been doing is “liking” tweets critical of President Trump or saying things to defend himself. (By that I mean the actual Mitt Romney, not Delecto.) As a side note, Romney’s wife Ann allegedly also has a fake account under the name of “Patience Darling” which is also private.
Here’s the interview in the Atlantic where Mitt let the cat out of the bag. What’s curious is why he decided to mention it unless he planned on making the fake account public anyway.
He explained that he uses a secret Twitter account—“What do they call me, a lurker?”—to keep tabs on the political conversation. “I won’t give you the name of it,” he said, but “I’m following 668 people.” Swiping at his tablet, he recited some of the accounts he follows, including journalists, late-night comedians (“What’s his name, the big redhead from Boston?”), and athletes. Trump was not among them. “He tweets so much,” Romney said, comparing the president to one of his nieces who overshares on Instagram. “I love her, but it’s like, Ah, it’s too much.”
Reading that through for a second time, maybe Mitt really didn’t think that he would be found out. Yes, he admitted to having a secret “lurker” account, but he didn’t give up the name. But saying exactly how many other accounts Delecto followed and then including a number of names meant that a dogged reporter would be able to narrow it down pretty quickly. And that reporter was Slate’s Ashley Feinberg.
So what’s our takeaway from all this? Not much, really. It’s a funny story, but it doesn’t have nearly as much meat on the bone as Carlos Danger’s online adventures. I’m confident that Feinberg must have downloaded all of Pierre Delecto’s tweets before it was taken private and if there was anything really incendiary in there we’d already know about it.