The White House slammed Republicans on social media this week, calling out critics of President Biden’s long-awaited student loan forgiveness plan as hypocrites in a flurry of pointed Twitter posts.
In six blunt tweets, the official White House account noted that a number of Republicans who blasted Biden’s debt-relief plan had borrowed through the federal Paycheck Protection Program — or PPP — during the pandemic and had those loans forgiven.
The posts quickly went viral, racking up retweets and earning praise from Biden supporters for its aggressive yet understated tone, while others questioned whether it was appropriate to use the White House account for political purposes.
“We’ve never hesitated to call out hypocrisy, and we’re not going to stop now,” said Alexandra LaManna, a White House spokeswoman, in a statement about the tweets on Friday. “It’s important to make clear that many of the same people calling student loan debt relief — which will help the middle class and working families by giving them more breathing room — a bailout for the wealthy had no issue with loan bailouts that benefited their own companies, and no issue with giving tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy.”
The White House’s first rejoinder was a clip of Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene saying the federal government shouldn’t be canceling student loans.
“For our government just to say, ‘OK, well your debt is completely forgiven’ ... it’s completely unfair,” said Greene, who claimed the move was an effort to boost Democrats’ popularity ahead of the midterm elections. “Taxpayers all over the country, taxpayers that never took out a student loan, taxpayers that pay their bills and maybe even never went to college and are just hardworking people — they shouldn’t have to pay off the great big student loan debt for some college student that piled up massive debt going to some Ivy League school.”
In a message accompanying the video, the White House bluntly wrote that Greene “had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven.”
The cutting remarks didn’t stop there. Tweet by tweet, the White House named another handful of Republicans who had large PPP loans forgiven by the government but still condemned Biden’s loan forgiveness plan this week.
“Congressman Vern Buchanan had over $2.3 million in PPP loans forgiven ... Congressman Markwayne Mullin had over $1.4 million in PPP loans forgiven ... Congressman Kevin Hern had over $1 million in PPP loans forgiven,” the White House wrote.
The thread raised eyebrows Thursday night and into Friday, with many noting that the rebuttal marked a clear shift in tone for the Biden administration.
“There is someone at the Whitehouse right now who is watching their twitter strategy send the country into a whirlwind lol,” tweeted Olivia Julianna, director of political strategy for the nonprofit Gen-Z for Change. The tweet included an image of Megan Parker, a character in Nickelodeon’s “Drake and Josh,” staring mischievously at her computer.
Another person tweeted a picture of a comically long CVS receipt, a reference to a catchphrase used when someone is caught in a lie. Others said this was the kind of behavior they wanted to see from Democrats more often.
But some people weren’t on board with the social media campaign. Bill Kristol, a political commentator who served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle and is the founding director of Defending Democracy Together, tweeted that if “Democrats want to defend the student loan forgiveness program by attacking critics whose businesses took PPP loans (I’m doubtful this really works politically, but whatever), they’re free to so.”
However, “it shouldn’t be done from the @WhiteHouse account.”
Mullin, one of the Republicans named in the thread, also spoke out, saying the tweets were an “ignorant attack.”
Coyne was previously the social media director for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and an architect of the state’s successful Twitter account, which gained online fame for its witty memes and bold quips.
By Friday, Coyne was trending on Twitter, too.
See more reaction:
the person who wrote the white house “this you” thread used to run the twitter account for the state of new jersey omg 😭 there’s a living legend in the oval office!!!!!!!!!— maybe: diane (@dianelyssa) August 26, 2022
The White House Twitter account pulling a "this you?" 😲— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) August 25, 2022