“Tennessee GOP,” or @TEN_GOP, was a popular Twitter account claiming to be run by, well, Republicans in Tennessee. Tweeting out a mix of pro-Trump cheerleading, ordinary partisan content, Islamophobia, racism, and conspiracy theories, the account amassed at least 136,000 followers. Its tweets often racked up thousands of retweets, sometimes even from top Trump campaign staffers.
And it turns out a Russian organization was running it all along.
According to a new indictment of 13 Russian people and 3 Russian entities released by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team Friday, a Russian organization “created and controlled the Twitter account, ‘Tennessee GOP,’ which used the handle @TEN_GOP.”
But it’s worth taking a look back at just what this Russian account was putting out there, both before the election and after it.
A review of many of its past tweets reveal some that appear to be deliberately advancing a pro-Russian propaganda agenda, and others that appear more aimed at staying “in character” in the fake identity of a Tennessee Republican. (It’s hard to see the propaganda purpose in, for instance, a tweet saying the late Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds are “singin the rain in the heavens now.”)
And despite occasional spelling or grammatical flubs (which, in fairness, native-born American accounts sometimes make too), there’s a perhaps surprising amount of sophistication in how @TEN_GOP understood US political dynamics, and how it attempted to make mischief.
So here, courtesy of screencaps from the Wayback Machine, are some of the now-deleted account’s most notable tweets.