Who Is Pierre Delecto? Mitt Romney Says 'C'est Moi' As He Confirms His Twitter Alias
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
If you've never heard the name Pierre Delecto, well, we don't blame you. His Twitter account opened in July of 2011, and it's tweeted only a few times, almost always to defend Republican Senator Mitt Romney.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Yesterday, we learned why. Pierre Delecto is Senator Mitt Romney. Romney's secret Twitter account first came up on Sunday when The Atlantic magazine published a profile of the Utah senator by staff writer McKay Coppins.
MCKAY COPPINS: He decided to get up and grab his iPad from his desk and said, you know, I actually have a Twitter account that's separate from my official account. He said he wouldn't tell me the name of it, but he gave me a bunch of details.
CHANG: The revelation was an irresistible tidbit for Ashley Feinberg, a writer for Slate who has a thing for unmasking secret accounts.
ASHLEY FEINBERG: The confirmation that it exists at all is sort of all you really need to see what's out there.
SHAPIRO: Feinberg started by combing through the accounts of Romney's family members, specifically their followers. When she got to Romney's oldest granddaughter, Feinberg noticed follower Pierre Delecto, an infrequent user with no picture, no details but a lot of positive things to say about a certain senator from Utah.
FEINBERG: He had 10 total tweets, and almost every single one of them was either coming to the defense of Mitt Romney or asserting that, actually, Mitt Romney is very good.
CHANG: Pierre Delecto tweeted to conservative figures like Erick Erickson with messages like, wrong, or, don't read the comments ever. He suggested that Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin take a breath after she called Mitt Romney spineless. And the accounts Pierre followed were very Romney - Mitt Romney's family, Mitt Romney's staffers, even Mitt Romney fan accounts.
SHAPIRO: Slate published Feinberg's findings on Sunday night, so McKay Coppins, who wrote the article that started the whole thing, reached out to Romney's communications director for comment.
COPPINS: She handed the phone over to Mitt Romney, who had a two-word response, which is c'est moi.
SHAPIRO: C'est moi - it's me.
(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: Senator Mitt Romney admits to having a secret Twitter account.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: And that he sometimes uses it to defend himself.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: Pierre Delecto.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #3: Pierre Delecto.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: Pierre Delecto.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #3: He said he was just using it to monitor political conversations...
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #3: ...On Twitter.
CHANG: Secret identities have always had a certain je ne sais quoi in the political world, from Deep Throat to Carlos Danger. Before he was president, Donald Trump famously called tabloids as John Barron to plant stories.
SHAPIRO: And Ashley Feinberg has a track record here. In March of 2017, she uncovered the secret Twitter account of then FBI Director James Comey. She says she expects these stories to just keep coming.
FEINBERG: A lot of politicians probably keep these accounts because it's very unlikely they're running their official ones, and they're clearly seeing this stuff somewhere.
SHAPIRO: So to any high-profile tweeters out there with secret accounts, enjoy the masquerade while you can.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHRIS JOSS' "LITTLE NATURE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.