When Mitt Romney admitted in a wide-ranging Atlantic interview that he kept a secret Twitter account, it was probably inevitable that Ashley Feinberg, the greatest sleuth on the Internet and the woman who unearthed James Comey’s secret lurker account in 2017, would be the one to crack the case. Here’s what Romney said:
He explained that he uses a secret Twitter account—“What do they call me, a lurker?”—to keep tabs on the political conversation. “I won’t give you the name of it,” he said, but “I’m following 668 people.” Swiping at his tablet, he recited some of the accounts he follows, including journalists, late-night comedians (“What’s his name, the big redhead from Boston?”), and athletes. Trump was not among them. “He tweets so much,” Romney said, comparing the president to one of his nieces who overshares on Instagram. “I love her, but it’s like, Ah, it’s too much.”
That was like red meat to Feinberg, who began to track Romney down and eventually came to the conclusion that the account was called “qaws9876” and went by the name “Pierre Delecto.”
Feinberg began with the family:
Not all of his five sons have public Twitter accounts, and some of them, like the dreaded Tagg, have too many followers to possibly dig through. Romney’s oldest grandchild, Allie Romney Critchlow, however, has just 481 followers, making digging through them an annoying-but-not-impossible feat. As I scrolled, while focusing on the ones that appeared to make an effort to conceal their real identities, one in particular caught my eye.
That one was Pierre Delecto himself, an account which consisted of some shots at Trump and defenses of Romney (you can see screenshots of “his” ten tweets, which are not earth-shattering but are now protected, at the Slate link).
The evidence was compelling, and when McKay Coppins, the author of the original Atlantic story, asked him directly, Romney didn’t even try to hide it:
All we can ask, now, is this: Who could have possibly guessed that in our ridiculous political ecosystem, Mitt Romney would go down as the weirdest politician of 2019?