Chelsea Clinton embraces her Twitter sass
Chelsea Clinton is bringing the fire on Twitter lately.
Freed from the constraints of her mother’s political ambitions, Clinton, 36, has taken to the medium, posting frequently and weighing in on current events with a distinctive, sometimes sassy, voice America hasn’t heard before.
“When Coretta Scott King said “Freedom is never really won…you win it in every generation,” was she thinking of @SenateMajLdr & @SenWarren?,” Clinton tweeted Tuesday night, in the wake of a recent Senate floor showdown.
In a September 2016 E! News interview alongside her mother, Clinton declared Twitter her favorite social platform. She’s been @ChelseaClinton since August 2012, and her account now boasts 1.44 million followers.
The former first daughter was always somewhat mysterious to the millennial crowd that grew up alongside her as her father occupied the White House during her teenage years. But in 2012, she told Vogue that she learned to embrace her celebrity, something she decided during the frenzied media coverage of her wedding to Marc Mezvinsky.
“Either it was something I could continue to ignore or it was something I could try to use to highlight causes that I really cared about,” she told the magazine. “Historically I deliberately tried to lead a private life in the public eye. And now I am trying to lead a purposefully public life.”
She hit the campaign trail as a surrogate for her mother, attending more than 200 public events. But even then, her social media voice was controlled.
“It was mostly staff. A lot of times, but not always, they’d be written at headquarters but approved and heavily edited by Chelsea-world. Non-Hillary Clinton family accounts had, as you can expect, a somewhat opaque process,” a former Clinton campaign digital aide said of her Twitter habits.
A spokeswoman for Clinton, Erika Gudmundson, refuted that description, saying: “It was not opaque to me, and I can tell you that throughout the campaign and now, Chelsea has been in control of her own Twitter account, whether she was tweeting photos with people she met on the campaign trail or her own thoughts on issues or news she feels strongly about.”
In the time between the election and the inauguration, Clinton tweeted in a decidedly neutral tone on topics such as global health, education, youth empowerment and women’s issues, linking to a series of news and science reports with minimal comment.
Now, she’s wading into politics, actively criticizing President Trump’s administration with sharply worded, and sometimes sarcastic, tweets.
She raised eyebrows last week, taking a shot at President Trump senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, who cited a non-existent “massacre” to defend the President’s travel ban.
“Please don’t make up attacks,” she said.
Conway fired back:
When the administration sent conflicting messages on whether the travel ban was, in fact, a “ban,” she linked to a video, writing: “So….which one of these is not like the others?”
Linking to a transcript of the President’s speech to an African-American History Month listening session last week, she had no words, only to say: “This is…this is…”
When the President suggested we should pray for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Apprentice” ratings at the National Prayer Breakfast, she wrote: “No, no, no. Thinking of Isaiah 40:29-31.”
She has used humor to tackle a series of difficult issues. Retweeting a link about an Arkansas law that will let rapists sue victims who want an abortion, she wrote: “Unconscionable – if only also unreal. Never thought I’d be wishing anything was fake news.”
In response to one tweet regarding President Trump’s Wall Street deregulation asking “Who could have predicted this?” she simply wrote: “Anyone taking him seriously.”
She personally participated in a Sunday protest in New York City’s Battery Park, posting a photo of a sign reading: “GET USED TO THIS PICTURE DON.”
“Yes. We will keep standing up for a country that matches our values and ideals for all,” she wrote.
Clinton has shown a more personal side in recent weeks, as well, tweeting about pop culture and interests like the Super Bowl, looking at pictures of elephants (“Some people look at cats for a break, I look at elephants,” she said), Serena Williams, coffee, space, chili peppers and children’s books.
She linked to a map of the most popular girl scout cookie by state, writing: “This map makes me miss my grandma. Every state she ever lived in shares her love of Thin Mints.”
And she often nods to her father’s friendship with President George H. W. Bush, linking to multiple news updates about his recent recovery from pneumonia.
So what’s next for Chelsea? She’s still taking some time to figure that out, per an aide.
Clinton, who completed a PhD in international relations from Oxford in 2014, has a book out Thursday with co-author Devi Sridhar called “Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why?” building on her PhD work. But don’t expect a book tour — it’s geared toward an academic crowd, published by Oxford University Press.
She will continue her work as vice chair of the board at the Clinton Global Initiative.
She’s also the mother of two young children — son Aidan, now seven months old, was born in June. Daughter Charlotte is nearly 2 1/2 years old.
In the meantime, keep an eye on her tweets.
CNN’s Dan Merica contributed to this report.