From November 2014 through January 2015, five months before he announced his bid for the Presidency, Donald Trump fired off nine weird tweets to two Russian accounts about running for President. And this, as far as I can tell, hasn’t been reported anywhere.
All these tweets are still live. At least for now. You can read them here; just search “Russia” and scroll down. Two of the accounts were @VladimirRussia7 and @russiannavyblog, and they’ve since been deactivated, and I believe @russiannavyblog deleted his account last night, after I first retweeted his Trump tweets. I’m close to certain he’s ex-CIA, but more on that in a little. Anyway, those handles are dead, but the tagged accounts on some of these tweets are still active, including one apparently belonging to a British medical journalist and human rights activist Dr. Rita Pal; someone with the handle @russia890; and, of course, @monkiekaty.
[UPDATE: Dr. Pal contacted me on Twitter and said her handle was quoted mistakenly by Trump, or by @russiannavyblog, in one of these tweets. She made quite clear she didn't support Donald Trump or say what the tweet said. Interestingly, she did shoot some sarcastic tweets at Trump on that same day, and Trump, mistaking them for support, retweeted two of them: here and here. This might explain why her handle was included. Dr. Pal is a committed humanitarian and by all appearances rather heroic. Please stop sending her abusive Direct Messages, because she needs to leave them open to get confidential information from Kashmir.]
All these tweets are at least a little weird. But it's weirder that, given how many rabid professional and citizen journalists plus all the nuts ripping into both Trump's tweeting data and the Russia investigation, no one has picked up on these tweets. For now, I want to note that Trump was continually quoting some dude named Vlad with a not-so-subtle wink that he was about to run for President.
But what's going on here? Obviously I don't believe @VladimirRussia7 is Vladimir Putin. But why would Donald Trump quote tweets in broken English about being “the great teacher” during Christmas from a nobody admirer no one can verify named Vladimir? Well, yeah, okay, you're right. It's Trump. But five of them? From the same non-famous person? Did Trump maybe think, or wish, this guy was Putin? My bet: he wanted us to think it was Putin. He can't be that dumb, right?
Well, now for the CIA part.
All in all, according to data tracker “Social Puncher,” Mr. Trump has quoted 175 accounts that have now disappeared, in a total of 194 tweets. And, sadly, the identity of @VladimirRussia7 appears to have been lost to the sands of time. That other deleted account, though, @russiannavyblog, is a more interesting story: Mr. Trump was being trolled by an ex-CIA Russian warship expert, and he still doesn't get it.
It turns out that @russiannavyblog is an ex-CIA fella who occasionally writes for The Daily Caller but whose real name I'll respect here. What's more, I'm 99% sure @russiannavyblog hates Russia and hates Mr. Trump. A few weeks after Mr. Trump kicked off his campaign, he called John McCain a “loser” for getting captured in the Vietnam War. Mr. Trump caught all sorts of shit for that and, in a frenzied effort to defend himself, retweeted a hoax picture of a Vietnam vet who happened to be a convicted murderer named Jeffrey MacDonald.
Guess who tweeted that pic at him? Yep. The caption: “My bad ass Vietnam vet dad has balls too which is why he's voting Trump!”
Then @russiannavyblog trolled Mr. Trump again in September about Mr. Trump's welching out of the Vietnam draft.
Mr. Navyblog, if I scared you into deleting your account, I hope I didn't, but I'm sorry. Thanks for the easter eggs: you tricked Mr. Trump, the improbable President of the United States of America, into making fun of his own candidacy by mocking him so flagrantly he mistook you for a likeminded vainglorious gasbag.
This brings me to my point. We elected a doddering, pig-eyed maniac who thought this tweet was a fucking endorsement: