President Donald Trump changed the banner image on his Twitter account late Monday night, and then changed it again several hours later after people on the internet thoroughly mocked it.
Trump made the top image on his Twitter page a photo of House Republicans celebrating passing the American Health Care Act, superimposed with a tweet the president had sent earlier that day about congressional testimony from former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on the subject of collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.
Holy cow. This is ACTUALLY DONALD TRUMP'S NEW TWITTER BANNER. pic.twitter.com/B59LT0lLZo— Tom McKay (@thetomzone) May 9, 2017
Clapper’s statement wasn’t particularly surprising, given that he left his post at the end of President Barack Obama’s term and had admitted to being unaware of the FBI’s investigation into Trump and Russia until FBI Director James Comey announced it at a hearing in March, according to CNN.
But the tweet Trump sent, and then highlighted in his banner, put words in Clapper’s mouth that Clapper never said — that “no evidence” exists of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. (Trump’s tweet also makes it look like Clapper is still the director of national intelligence, though that’s more of a quibble for adherents to AP style.)
What Trump elided is that Clapper made clear that the FBI could have been conducting an investigation into Trump and Russia without his knowledge. As the New York Times’s Matthew Rosenberg summarized:
Among the most secretive investigations conducted by the F.B.I. are those that examine the links between American citizens and foreign governments, which are known as counterintelligence investigations. So when the F.B.I. began examining possible connections between Trump associates and Russia this past summer, it appeared to have told almost no one — not even Mr. Clapper, who was then overseeing the bureau as the director of national intelligence.
A few hours after Twitter made fun of Trump’s new banner, he removed it and replaced it with a generic photo of him with congressional Republicans in the Rose Garden.
The tweet mischaracterizing Clapper’s words remains on the president’s page.