President Donald Trump took over the sprawling US government today, and some of his new employees are using the occasion to poke at him on Twitter. Whoever is running the National Park Service's Twitter account is subtweeting the new president with messages that appear to challenge his ideas and his stature.
Early today, @NatlParkService posted a tweet by The Wilderness Society about Obama’s recognition of LGBTQ history and places — the same day that the LGBTQ rights page disappeared from the White House website.
The National Park Service also retweeted an article by Esquire about civil rights, climate change, and health care being scrubbed clean from WhiteHouse.gov. Apparently, those are not Trump’s “Top Issues.” Scrapping Obama’s climate change plan and putting America First when it comes to foreign policy instead are.
Finally, the official NPS account retweeted a photo comparing the crowds at Obama’s 2009 inauguration vs. today’s, which has been widely circulated online as way to compare the two presidents’ levels of popularity.
One of the Twitter accounts of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, @NOAAResearch, also used Inauguration Day to remind its followers that climate change is a thing and sea levels are indeed rising at an increasing rate.
Just hours after initially echoing sentiments critical of Trump, the NPS has apparently removed the retweets. As part of a directive sent from its Washington support office, the NPS is also now being ordered to cease all operations on Twitter, according to an internal email sent to NPS employees and obtained by Gizmodo. It’s unclear what connection exists between the NPS’s anti-Trump activity on Twitter and the new Trump Administration; there is no evidence yet that the the organization’s employees were ordered to cease criticism by a Trump Admin member.
However, the new Twitter ban is sure to cause significant problems for the NPS and how it communicates emergency measures. “PWR parks that use Twitter as part of their crisis communications plans need to alter their contingency plans to accommodate this requirement,” the email reads.
Here’s the message in full:
We have received direction from the Department through [the Washington Support Office] that directs all [Department of Interior] bureaus to immediately cease use of government Twitter accounts until further notice.
PWR parks that use Twitter as part of their crisis communications plans need to alter their contingency plans to accommodate this requirement. Please ensure all scheduled posts are deleted and automated cross-platform social media connections to your twitter accounts are severed. The expectation is that there will be absolutely no posts to Twitter.
In summary, this Twitter stand down means we will cease use of Twitter immediately. However, there is no need to suspend or delete government accounts until directed.
This does not affect use of other approved social media platforms. We expect further guidance to come next week and we will share accordingly.
Thanks for your help!
Update 9:00PM ET, 1/20: Added information from and the text of an internal email sent to NPS employees outlining the directive to cease all Twitter operations.