The official US State Department website briefly said that President Donald Trump‘s time in office ended on Monday, after a pissed-off employee reportedly fiddled around with Trump’s digital biography.
BuzzFeed News reports the public State Department page declared “Donald J. Trump’s term ended on 2021-01-11 19:49:00”, despite his stint in office officially coming to an end on January 20.
The timestamp, and which changed with every page reset, caused a scene online Tuesday morning. Fuck-ups on official government portals are still a big deal, and the incident caused a miniature crisis among political wonks, reporters, and folks who just want Trump to disappear:
— Allan Smith (@akarl_smith) January 11, 2021
Hey, @StateDept, what do you know that the rest of us don't?
"Donald J. Trump's term ended on 2021-01-11 19:49:00." pic.twitter.com/Ntl1BSqsb9
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) January 11, 2021
Nancy Pelosi is the president now because the State Department's website said Trump and Pence's terms are over.
It's what the founders intended.
— Sam Mintz (@samjmintz) January 11, 2021
As of Tuesday morning, Trump’s page returns a 404 message.
BuzzFeed News later reported the edit, and a similar tweak to Vice President Mike Pence‘s page, was caused by a State Department employee.
No hacks. No glitches. Just a seriously fed up functionary expressing their disapproval of Trump, according to two unnamed diplomats who spoke to the outlet.
The State Department social media manager deciding to end the Trump presidency: pic.twitter.com/G3jYWhWYIh
— Sam Stryker (@sbstryker) January 11, 2021
The disgruntled employee at the state department: pic.twitter.com/B38Nu8cScZ
— JB from 51st State (@JBfromDC89) January 11, 2021
Some random staffer at the State Department before they messed with the site: pic.twitter.com/DiUvjT26B4
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 11, 2021
state department staff member walking out after publishing
Donald J. Trump's term ended on 2021-01-11 19:40:41
on their website lmao ????????pic.twitter.com/r7fvEcwAgu
— ً (@k_m97) January 11, 2021
One of the officials added that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is looking into the fuck-up, and will likely start the manhunt by interviewing low-level employees who are leaving the State Department before President-elect Joe Biden takes over.
The incident mirrors Trump’s short-lived removal from Twitter in 2017, when a similarly spiteful employee decided to pull the plug on his account.
Twitter recently made the decision to permanently and officially ban Trump from the platform.
Given the fact Trump will be turfed out of the Oval Office in the near future (unless there’s another, more successful siege of the US Capitol…), it seems the sneaky State Department amendment could have waited.
Regardless, it did give his detractors a brief window into a world where Trump is no longer the POTUS. Catch you later this month, we guess.