Trump, Clinton Exchange Biting Tweets in Preview of Coming Months

Clinton's 'Delete your account' tweet is most retweeted of campaign

A campaign sign at Hillary Clinton's Indianapolis headquarters featuring a popular hashtag used by her supporters. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The next presidential debates have started — and they're on Twitter.  

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton addressed each other directly Thursday night with an exchange of zingy one-liners that drew tens of thousands of retweets, a milestone for their social media campaigns and a preview of how the candidates' will communicate in the coming months.  

Trump started it shortly after Obama endorsed Clinton , the presumptive Democratic nominee.  

"Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary," Trump tweeted. "He wants four more years of Obama — but nobody else does!"

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee , has been using his Twitter account to attack Clinton — as well as his GOP primary rivals — throughout his campaign.  

But this time, Clinton responded in kind, with the pithy, three-word tweet: "Delete your account."

The statement is a popular Twitter insult among younger users that has also been famously adopted by and in response to political and cultural figures like Edward Snowden, Bill Cosby and Republican strategist Bill Kristol. It usually implies that a poster has made a tone-deaf comment or a joke that fell flat.  

Clinton rarely addresses Trump directly on Twitter. This post came after she mercilessly mocked the billionaire mogul in an eviscerating speech  last week that was hailed as one of the most striking of her career, and considered a signal of a new, more aggressive approach to her general election campaign.  

The Twitterverse responded with hundreds of thousands of retweets and favorites. Clinton's social media director, Alex Wall, tweeted early Friday morning that it was "The most retweeted tweet of the campaign."

Trump responded two hours later with his own adaptation of a schoolyard insult.  

He tweeted: "How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up — and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?"

Then Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren joined in with tweets of their own.  

"If anyone knows how to use a delete key, it's you," Priebus said in a tweet addressed to Clinton.

Warren, a Democrat who has been trading jabs with Trump for days, borrowed Clinton's insult in a Friday morning tweet to the real estate tycoon.

Oh snap.

Contact Akin at  stephanieakin@rollcall.com  and follow her on Twitter at  @stephanieakin .

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