President Donald Trump appeared to have deleted tweets supporting Alabama Sen. Luther Strange after he lost the Republican runoff to Roy Moore on Tuesday.
In a string of deleted tweets captured by ProPublica, Trump encourages Alabama Republicans to “get out and vote” for Strange, who the president said “has proven to me that he will never let you down! #MAGA.”
Then, Trump boasts that Strange has “been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement.” Strange had been trailing Moore in the days before the election and lost to the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court by 10 percentage points.
Trump also deleted a tweet that is similar to one he chose to keep congratulating Moore. The deleted tweet said “Roy, WIN in Nov!” The general election for the Senate seat is in December.
On Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted he had spoken to Moore for the first time. The president recalibrated his support from Strange to Moore, then attached the runoff winner to his own signature campaign slogan.
Spoke to Roy Moore of Alabama last night for the first time. Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race. He will help to #MAGA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2017
Government watchdog groups have sued the administration for deleting tweets, arguing that it violates federal laws intended to preserve presidential records.
Trump’s top spokespeople have said his tweets, including those from the personal account that predates his inauguration, should be considered official White House statements.
Strange had been appointed to the seat held by Jeff Sessions, who left the Senate to become attorney general.
Vice President Mike Pence also joined in on the praise for Moore following his victory, insisting that he ran on the “#MAGA agenda” after a string of tweets this week that praised Strange.
Congratulations Roy Moore! We are thrilled you ran on the #MAGA agenda & we are for you!
“Congratulations Roy Moore! We are thrilled you ran on the #MAGA agenda & we are for you!” the vice president tweeted.