In the last two weeks, the campaign Twitter account for Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, has deleted nearly a hundred messages that were once shared with the public and now can only be found on our Politwoops archive of deleted tweets. The gamut of deletions include a photo of him discussing the State of the Union deleted after one week, mentions of #nobudgetnopay from more than a year ago and a press call discussing the government shutdown.
Any time a politician removes a significant portion of their statements from the public view it raises questions over their motives, and these 95 deleted tweets from Rep. Weber are no exception. Many of the deletions link to Facebook posts that have also been removed, but thanks to the attached screenshot feature on Politwoops, the images that were intended to be deleted are now archived — such as the image seen to the right. The campaign for Rep. Weber has not responded to questions about these deletions, but we’ll update this post if we hear from it.
It is difficult to decipher the reasoning behind these particular deletions, but some themes include 13 deletions about the government shutdown and the associated fight over the defunding of Obamacare (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13), 11 deletions relating to the Keystone Pipeline (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) and 4 tweets mentioning Syria (1, 2, 3, 4). There is also a link to a “passionate speech on House floor” comparing the statements of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and President Obama during the government shutdown over repealing Obamacare to the Battle of the Alamo and “King George’s dictatorial methods.”
Rep. Weber joins other politicians caught by Politwoops removing tweets en masse such as Elizabeth Colbert Busch, an unsuccessful House challenger in South Carolina, who removed more than 500 tweets before her special election and Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who systematically deleted 109 tweets that were 26 weeks old over the course of a 3-month period before Sunlight reported on the practice. Rep. Weber is a freshman member of Congress who won in 2012 with 53.47% of vote. According to the Texas Tribune, five other candidates are running to represent the 14th district in Congress in 2014, and that field will narrow following the primary on March 4, 2014.