President Donald Trump thanked his sister Elizabeth Trump Grau for apparently showing her support for his administration on Twitter. However, the tweet was actually published by a parody account claiming to belong to Elizabeth, 78. A woman who identified herself as Elizabeth told Vice she does not use Twitter and tried to get the parody account deleted. The account has since been suspended.
Early Friday morning, Trump retweeted a post from conservative commentator Wayne Dupree's website, which claimed Elizabeth tweeted support for Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential results, despite no evidence of widespread fraud. "Why should Donald concede? He hasn't lost," the account's message read. "Thank you, Elizabeth, LOVE!" the president wrote in response.
Thank you Elizabeth, LOVE! https://t.co/iopJ0AJ1KV— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2020
The trouble was the account, @TheBettyTrump, was not really run by Elizabeth, as Los Angeles Times reporter Chris Megerian discovered. Dupree's website also updated its post on the account's tweet. "While this has not been officially 'fact-checked' by social media executives and professionals, we’re hearing from many others that this is not actually the account of Ms. Elizabeth Trump, but is actually a parody account," the update reads. The site's editors apologized, claiming it was "never our intent to 'fool' anyone, or spread misinformation."
"I’m trying to delete it," a woman who claims to be Elizabeth told Vice. "I don't even belong to Twitter." Elizabeth declined to give a further statement on the situation. "I have no statement. I'm just annoyed about this whole thing."
I’ve asked a spokesman for the Trump Organization whether this is actually the president’s sister.
But it appears that the president’s original tweet — thanking his sister for her support — was responding to a fake account that got picked up in the right-wing echo chamber.— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) November 20, 2020
@TheBettyTrump is suspended. It was created just a month ago and included several tweets praising Trump and insulting his Trump critics. In one tweet, the writer called CNN anchor Anderson Cooper "Anderson Pooper." After noticing Trump mistook his tweets for a real message from his sister, the writer apologized for not making it clear it was a parody account. "I would’ve clarified sooner that I was a parody but I certainly didn’t anticipate President Trump himself taking notice of the account," the user wrote.
Here’s the answer — it’s not really the president’s sister pic.twitter.com/ZaJj8YeIna— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) November 20, 2020
Elizabeth is one of Trump's most media-shy siblings, even staying out of the spotlight when Trump's niece, Mary Trump, published her book about the family. In fact, Elizabeth was rarely mentioned in the book. Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, told Vice the president and Elizabeth were not close. He also noted that no one called Elizabeth "Betty" during the 15 years he worked with Trump. The White House has not commented on the situation, but Trump's tweet thanking the parody account is still up.