Joe Biden’s team was told about the move less than a month ago, and said it meant “the administration will have to start from zero”.
Twitter has not explained why the decision was made, and said it had nothing further to add beyond an official blog post laying out transition plans.
In that post Twitter said: “These institutional accounts will not automatically retain the followers from the prior administration.”
It doesn’t explain why.
However, Twitter said that people who previously followed the official @POTUS and @VP accounts, or the personal accounts of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris – would receive notifications giving them the option to follow the new official ones.
President Barack Obama was the first US leader to have an official Twitter account. The @POTUS account was set up during his tenure in 2015.
At the end of Obama’s second term, a transition plan for handing over the official accounts to President Trump was drawn up – with @POTUS going to the new administration.
All of Barack Obama’s official tweets were archived for posterity on a separate account, @POTUS44 (where they can still be read today).
In his Thanksgiving address, Donald Trump has called for national unity.
In the wake of what the president-elect called a “long and bruising” election campaign he said emotions in the country were raw.
The time had come, Donald Trump said, “to begin to heal our divisions” but added that “tensions just don’t heal overnight”.
Earlier the president-elect announced the appointment of two women to his cabinet, both of whom had been fiercely critical of him during the presidential campaign.
In his Thanksgiving address, Donald Trump acknowledged the bitterness still remaining after the bruising election campaign: “It doesn’t go quickly, unfortunately, but we have before us the chance now to make history together to bring real change to Washington, real safety to our cities, and real prosperity to our communities, including our inner cities.”
On November 23, Donald Trump announced that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was his pick for US ambassador to the United Nations, while Betsy DeVos has been chosen to be secretary of education.
Image source U.S. Marine Corps
Both are former critics of Donald Trump, with Nikki Haley once saying she was “not a fan”, and Betsy DeVos branding him an “interloper”.
The appointments will need to be approved by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Donald Trump called Nikki Haley “a proven dealmaker, and we look to be making plenty of deals”.
“She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage,” he added.
Nikki Haley said she was “moved” to accept the assignment and would stay on as South Carolina governor, pending her congressional confirmation.
During the Republican primaries, Nikki Haley supported Florida Senator Marco Rubio and then Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
She also strongly attacked Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigrants, describing it as “un-American”.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump in the popular count of the presidential election has increased to two million votes.
Donald Trump won the election by winning a majority of the Electoral College votes, but with ballots still being counted, two weeks after Election Day, the Cook Political Report has Trump’s tally at 62.2 million and Hillary Clinton’s at 64.2 million.
It is the fifth time the winner of the popular vote has lost the election.
In 2000, Democrat Al Gore’s final lead over George W. Bush, who won the election after a prolonged legal challenge, was nearly 544,000.
The Supreme Court ultimately decided that election by awarding George W. Bush a win in the contested state of Florida.
This year, Hillary Clinton scored large tallies in states like California but Donald Trump won most of the so-called swing states, which ultimately decide the outcome of elections.
The Electoral College system favors candidates who win by a small margin in lots of states over ones that win by a landslide in just a few.
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