Hours after President-Elect Donald Trump announced that he would set out a plan to step away from his family businesses while in the White House, an obscure government ethics office in Washington, D.C., sent out a series of messages to Mr. Trump on Twitter that seemed abnormal for a federal agency, as the tweets repeatedly praised the next President for his yet-to-be-announced moves.
It turned out there was no hack. All of it evidently an effort to send a social media message to the President-Elect on his family business holdings.
"OGE applauds the "total" divestiture decision," the official Twitter account of the Office of Government Ethics opined about Trump. "Bravo!"
There were nine tweets in all that applauded the President-Elect by name, repeatedly saying that the best thing for Mr. Trump to do was to separate himself from his family businesses.
It was notable that Trump did not announce what he was going to do with his business interests, merely setting a December 15 news conference to set out the changes.
The tweets were completely out of character for the OGE Twitter account, which is usually reserved for announcements on ethics dates and deadlines, gift rules and more.
OGE usually puts out materials that would make almost any bureaucrat seek out caffeine, with titles like "Transition Readiness Series: An Introduction to 18 U.S.C. § 203."
"OGE’s Director discusses changes to the gift rules," was one tweet on November 18.
The series of tweets did not go unnoticed, as Washington, D.C. tried to figure out what was going on at the ethics agency.
Later in the day, the Office of Government Ethics sent out this news release to reporters:
So - it was a real series of tweets.