WASHINGTON — As some have been criticizing Senator Mitt Romney for not being tough enough in his public disapproval of President Donald Trump, an interview he did with The Atlantic wound up shedding light on an anonymous Twitter account he's used to make his true feelings heard.
In a profile of Romney that McKay Coppins penned this week for The Atlantic, Romney revealed that he uses a "secret" Twitter account to defend himself against criticisms from reporters, and monitor others. Romney claimed the account followed around 700 others including journalists, comedians and athletes. When asked if he followed Trump, Romney said he doesn't because the president tweets too much.
While that may not seem like a lot of information, it was enough for Slate reporter Ashley Feinberg to find the account. She published a story on Sunday identifying Twitter user @qaws9876, also known as Pierre Delecto, as matching the senator's description of his anonymous account.
Romney later confirmed to The Atlantic that it is in fact him, saying "C'est moi," when asked over the phone.
The account was created in July of 2011 about a month after Romney kicked off his presidential run, Slate pointed out.
While the account follows over 700 other Twitter handles, including those of political pundits and operatives along with reporters, politicians and late night-night talk show hosts, the first account that Pierre Delecto followed was his son Tagg.
In one tweet, Romney replied to Washington Post reporter Jennifer Rubin after she commented on a Politico article about Romney's Trump strategy, by saying "his strategy is nonconfrontational verging on spinelessness." Romney responded through his anonymous account, "Jennifer, you need to take a breath. Maybe you can then acknowledge the people who agree with you in large measure even if not in every measure."
In June of 2019, "Pierre Delecto" responded to a tweet from reporter Soledad O'Brien who said the Senator had an "utter lack of moral compass," after The Hill reported that Romney said he "may not endorse Trump in 2020."
Romney replied to the tweet by saying, "Only Republican to hit Trump on [sic] Meuller report, only one to hit Trump on character time and again, so Soledad, you think he's the one without moral compass?
The account for "Pierre Delecto" went on to reply to other reporters, to like tweets that praised and defended him and spoke about his home state, Feinberg reported.
It's unclear where the name "Pierre Delecto" came from, though the twitter handle @qaws9876 is made up of numbers and letters that are right next to each other on a standard keyboard, so that part just appears to be random placeholder text, as Slate reported.