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Of all the news headlines I thought I might see, “Mitt Romney Has a Secret Twitter Account” certainly ranks near the bottom of the list—right down there next to “Bill Clinton Renounces Promiscuous Past, Joins Monastery” and “Academy Lauds Alyssa Milano’s Social Justice Work, Awards Honorary Oscar for Role in Embrace of the Vampire.” But never say never, I guess:
Meet “Pierre Delecto.”
Earlier today, the Atlantic’s McKay Coppins published a lengthy profile on Mitt Romney, apparently part of Romney’s effort to set himself up as the noble Republican foil to an out-of-control president. These sorts of pieces, which are more about narrative setting than anything else, typically don’t contain a lot of new information, but this had one notable exception. About midway through, the usually guarded senator revealed that, just like fellow lone-voice-of reason-haver James Comey, he was the owner of a secret Twitter account.
Somehow, that last sentence begs for an explanation point at the end of it, or at least one of those dun-dun-DUUUUUN! musical stabs—but as this is s straight news story, author Ashley Feinberg plays it cool. She also does some clever sleuthing, in which she follows the trail of clues, Nancy Drew style, that Romney leaves and tracks it down to an obscure account with the even more obscure handle @qaws9876, which looks more like a Russian spambot than it does the secret Twitter identity of a current Senator and former presidential candidate. When directly asked about the account, however, Romney copped to it in much the way that one might expect from a man who is the very definition of GOP establishment:
Yep, nothing says “severely conservative man of the people” quite like answering in French. Next thing you know, he’ll be donning a yellow vest, joining the gilets jaunes and belting out “Do You Hear the People Sing?” with the rest of the blokes on the barricades. Mon Dieu!
Of course, there are plenty of haters out there trying to make hay out of Romney’s L’Homme au Masque de RINO act, saying, “See? See? This proves that he’s been a closet liberal all along!” And while there certainly is some truth in that regard—the account, before being taken private, liked an unkind remark about Newt Gingrich (from Devin Nunes’ Cow of all people) and seemed generally favorable to the impeachment of Donald Trump—for the most part, alter-ego Pierre curated a pretty boring timeline, with just a handful of tweets that seemed more fixated on Romney’s failed 2012 presidential bid and back-slapping the team that led him to defeat more than anything else. Besides, Romney has tweeted far more obnoxious twaddle from his verified account, not to mention in his public statements on the man who got the job that he could never get himself.
At any rate, Pierre Delecto strikes me as something of a misnomer for Mitt Romney. I mean, Pierre might fit—in that haughty, ugly Américain fashion of which John Kerry would likely approve. Delecto, however, is Latin for delight, and while Romney might be many things—charitable with his time and money for sure, but also vindictive and petty when it suits him—I’d be more than a bit surprised if anyone had ever described him as delightful.
Then again, some people also like escargot. I guess there really is no accounting for taste.
Au revoir, kiddies!
What was I saying about John Kerry liking the cut of Pierre’s jib?
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) October 21, 2019
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