Something unthinkable happened on the Trump Twitter account this week. President Trump seemed briefly to follow, then unfollow, CNN on Twitter Monday.
Very briefly. Like for less than an hour.
The president's quick hit-it-and-quit-it left the internet wondering if he decided to hate-follow his longtime nemesis, then reconsidered. Trump has metaphorically threatened the news network with beatings and death by train collision before, complaining about "fake" coverage.
On Monday at 7:10am, the Twitter bot Trump Alert noted that the president seemed to follow CNN.
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realDonaldTrump appears to be following @CNN. (This bot cannot tell if it was a new follow or the result of the account being reactivated.)— Trump Alert (@TrumpsAlert) March 26, 2018
Then 50 minutes later, it noted that Trump was no longer following.
realDonaldTrump appears to no longer follow @CNN. (This bot cannot tell if this was an unfollow, suspension or block.)— Trump Alert (@TrumpsAlert) March 26, 2018
It's not clear if Trump did actually follow, then unfollow CNN in quick succession; whether someone else with access to his account did; or if the news network saw that he followed them and blocked him.
Trump doesn't follow any of the network's shows, anchors or correspondents. The last time he appeared on CNN was August 2016, when Anderson Cooper interviewed him by phone.
Members of the media remarked on the relationship's resumption and near-instantaneous demise.
Reactions to Trump Twitter CNN follow
Trump hate-followed CNN for less than an hour this morning pic.twitter.com/GAFi996f21— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) March 26, 2018
That was brief. pic.twitter.com/FQ8xiS1ym0— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) March 26, 2018
Trump is an outspoken anti-fan of CNN. He regularly refers to the network as "fake news" and has shared violent imagery involving CNN on his Twitter feed. Among them: An image of the CNN logo stuck in a blood splatter on the bottom of his shoe, an illustration of a train about to run over a CNN reporter, and a gif of him beating up a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his face.
Earlier this year he gave the network the most prizes in his "Fake News Awards" — four, including one for a retracted story involving a meeting between former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci and Russian banker Kirill Dmitriev that led to the resignation of three reporters. (In March, the New York Times corroborated the story.)
In January, a man was arrested by federal authorities after being accused of threatening to commit a mass shooting at CNN headquarters. He made 22 threatening calls to the company, calling it "fake news."