Watchdog says WH deleting tweet after Twitter added context may have violated Presidential Records Act

A White House tweet disappeared after being fact-checked. The deletion of the tweet is the subject of scrutiny by a conservative watchdog group, Protect the Public’s Trust.

The tweet from the Biden Administration claimed that the president is responsible for “the biggest increase in 10 years” to Social Security benefits for seniors.

A day after the original White House post, there was a qualifier added – a “lacks context” fact check of sorts. (One wonders if this was perhaps the result of the recent change in leadership at Twitter.)

The statement pointed out that President Joe Biden is not, in fact, responsible for the increase in benefits. Rather, seniors will see larger checks “due to the annual cost of living adjustment, which is based on the inflation rate.” Such adjustments have been automatically assessed according to changes in the Consumer Price Index, ever since President Nixon signed the measure into law in 1972.

The tweet and its qualifier were captured by Republican communicator Matt Whitlock before they were deleted:

When the White House tweet was deleted, along with the statement of context, the conservative pressure group blew their whistle, saying that the administration might have breached the Presidential Records Act and undermined freedom of information requests.

A White House official said the tweet was deleted because “The point was incomplete.” The official further claimed that White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gave a fuller context when she said that benefits would increase by an average amount of $140 a month.

“For the first time in over a decade, seniors’ Medicare premiums will decrease even as their Social Security checks increase,” she said. “This means that seniors will have a chance to get ahead of inflation, due to the rare combination of rising benefits and falling premiums.”

“We will put more money in their pockets and provide them with a little extra breathing room,” she crowed.

The White House’s explanation was not enough to avoid the scrutiny of Protect the Public’s Trust. On Friday the group called for an investigation.

“Enforcement of public records laws, such as FOIA, is virtually impossible if records retention policies are not enforced, including those covering social media,” said Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust.

“If the American public is going to trust its government, these policies must be enforced equally, regardless of who is in power, and skirting the requirements to avoid embarrassment or political backlash must not be seen as legitimate justifications.”

The Presidential Records Act was introduced in 1974, in response to President Richard Nixon’s attempt to destroy documents when he resigned.

Social Security benefits will indeed rise by 8.7 percent in 2023. It is the largest increase since the last time a Democratic president caused this much inflation – the end of the Carter Administration.

There was a minor feeding frenzy on the Right over the Twittergate “scandal.”

For instance, Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) tweeted:

“Next year’s Social Security increase will be one of the largest in decades b/c of Biden’s disastrous policies, which have caused prices to rise, fueled record inflation, & cut it into critical retirement savings.”

The Twitter gaffe was one of many in the past week. In Biden’s polarizing speech on Tuesday alone, he referred to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz as a senator, claimed again that his son Beau died in Iraq, and referred to the war in Ukraine as the war in Iraq. He at least corrected himself on the last one.

It bears mentioning that Biden doesn’t operate the White House Twitter account. He probably doesn’t operate much of anything, come to think of it, nor does he seem to know what he’s saying.

Social Security benefits are in the news because of last-minute desperation on the Left. They are pulling out all the old stops in an effort to staunch the tide they face in the midterms. Biden has been out there accusing Republicans of threatening to abolish the entire system. So, this gaffe is especially embarrassing in that context.

Meanwhile, taking credit for things he didn’t do isn’t anything new for President Biden. Here is Matt Whitlock again:


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