On Friday morning, President Trump shared a seemingly innocuous article on Twitter. The piece said that his sister, Elizabeth Trump Grau, had publicly voiced her support for her brother amid his baseless claims that he won the 2020 election.
“Thank you Elizabeth,” Mr. Trump wrote to his sister, who has long avoided the spotlight. “LOVE!”
There was just one problem: Ms. Trump Grau had not said what the article claimed. In fact, the article Mr. Trump shared was based on a fake Twitter account that posed as his sister.
That article, on the website of a conservative talk-radio host named Wayne Dupree, quoted a post from a Twitter account named “Betty Trump” that used a photo of Ms. Trump Grau as its profile picture.
“This election inspired me to break my silence and speak out on behalf of my family,” the account said in a post on Wednesday. “My brother Don won this election and will fight this to the very end. We’ve always been a family of fighters.”
The article on Mr. Dupree’s site called the comments “so powerful” and said they showed how “our president really does have such an amazing family.”
Had the article’s author looked more closely, though, she would have noticed some suspicious details about the account. It was a day old. The photos it used of Ms. Trump Grau were taken from Getty Images and past news articles about her. And since that first post, the account had tweeted increasingly bizarre messages, sharply criticizing Democrats, journalists and Republicans who had questioned the false claim that Mr. Trump was re-elected.
“If someone pours gravy down Chris Wallace’s pants at Thanksgiving dinner, I promise, I will take care of the legal fees!” the account said, referring to the Fox News anchor. Another post said, “The perfect Trump drink on a rough day,” with a photo of a can of Natty Daddy, a cheap malt beer.