The Kremlin views the tweets sent by President Donald Trump as official statements, spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally briefed on them.
“Moscow considers all statements made on his official Twitter account to be official, so reports are presented to President Putin about them, as well as about official statements that politicians make in other countries,” Peskov was quoted as saying by the state-owned Tass news agency.
Trump’s prolific and sometimes pugnacious use of Twitter stands apart from other recent presidents, of whom only President Barack Obama had an account while in office — and he began to tweet himself only several years after his account was set up. Unlike Trump, Obama used the account relatively sparingly and signed his tweets to indicate that he himself had written them.
The sitting president’s personal use of Twitter has at times appeared to undermine stated U.S. foreign policy goals, such as the pursuit of a diplomatic solution to the North Korea crisis. Critics have also suggested that the wording of some tweets from Trump’s account could have legal implications for the ongoing Russia investigation and the legal fight against the Trump administration’s travel ban.
The White House has repeatedly said that Trump’s tweets count as official statements — though a Trump administration attorney last week told a court considering the legality of the travel ban that the president’s sharing of inflammatory anti-Muslim videos on Twitter should not be considered as they were not “legally relevant.”
Though some world leaders have played down the implications of Trump’s tweets, most foreign governments appear to pay close attention to them, and some are reported to have set up dedicated teams to monitor his tweets.
“Trump’s Twitter feed is a gold mine for every foreign intelligence agency,” Nada Bakos, a former CIA analyst, wrote for The Washington Post in June. “The president’s unfiltered thoughts are available night and day, broadcast to his 32.7 million Twitter followers immediately and without much obvious mediation by diplomats, strategists or handlers.”
Peskov declined to tell reporters what the Kremlin thought of Trump’s tweets. “I do not think I have the right to comment on President Trump’s actions. It would be a wrong thing to do,” the Kremlin spokesman said.
“Putin does not have a Twitter account,” Peskov added. “He explained earlier that he did not have a wish to do that and he did not consider it possible for someone else to do it for him, including members of his press service and other departments of the Kremlin administration.”