When it comes to Twitter, Trump is somehow the master and the novice at the same time.
He’s got millions of followers and his influence on the platform is undeniable, but he also tweets a lot of total rubbish and outright lies.
Now Trump has taken a break from having his tweets flagged as misleading to… get duped by a fake account pretending to be his sister Elizabeth.
On 18 November, an account going as “Betty Trump” with the handle @TheBettyTrump appeared on Twitter. The account quickly began praising Trump and attacking his enemies, while also posting a string of homophobic, transhobic and racist tweets.
Conservative platform The Wayne Dupree Show saw the account and began heaping praise on Elizabeth on Twitter. Then Trump saw this and retweeted the article, writing, “Thank you Elizabeth, LOVE!”
But it turns out the account isn’t even real.
Los Angeles Times reporter Chris Megerian was the first to notice that something seemed off. He wrote that he when he clicked the link to the article Trump had shared, there was a disclaimer saying that the Twitter account was unverified and had been removed.
Looking closer, there were a lot of clues that the account isn’t genuine.
For starters, the header photo of Elizabeth and her brother is from Google Images. The same goes for the profile photo.
“Betty Trump” also didn’t follow any of the Trump clan apart from the president.
Still, some of the posts were sort of convincing for an older person who idolises Trump. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, for example, was regularly called “Anderson Pooper” and Chris Christie, Tucker Carlson and Chris Wallace were among those who were attacked for their apparent lack of loyalty to the president.
Apparently the real Elizabeth Grau doesn’t even go by the nickname Betty, as all stories of her – including in Mary Trump’s explosive book – refer to her as Elizabeth.
But the account still amassed 20,000 followers in just two days.
Soon, though, as people started to suspect it wasn’t real, Dupree’s website – where the article that Trump retweeted was published – clarified that the account was a parody. They apologised again for amplifying it.
When contacted by Vice, Grau said she isn’t even on Twitter.
And after this, the account admitted it was fake and changed its description to acknowledge that it’s a parody. Soon the account was removed from Twitter and disappeared forever.
So there we have it: a story of how the man who has the nuclear codes at his fingertips was fooled into thinking a fake account was one of his close relatives.