As President Donald Trump's Twitter habits continue to raise eyebrows around the world, a new parody account is re-imagining the US leader's 140-character messages as official White House statements. Created by Jewish educator, technologist and coder Russel Neiss, the new Twitter bot - @RealPressSecBot - scans Trump's @realDonaldTrump account for new tweets every five minutes.
It then grabs a new direct quote and edits it to look like more traditional, official statements from the White House. After churning out the first 'statement' on Sunday (4 June), the account gained over 50,000 followers in less than 24 hours and has attracted more than 79,000 followers so far.
The bot's inaugural tweet featured Trump's tweet in which he called on lawmakers to "stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people".
Since then, it has grabbed 12 tweets including one in which he criticised London Mayor Sadiq Khan and took one of his statements out of context.
"Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his 'no reason to be alarmed' statement," Trump tweeted. "[Main Stream Media] is working hard to sell it."
Other tweets captured and refashioned as official tweets include his posts on the legal challenges against his controversial travel ban.
Neiss said the inspiration initially came from a viral tweet by Patrick Cunnane, an aide to former president Barack Obama, who tweeted a mockup of one of Trump's controversial tweets following the terror attacks in London as a statement from the Office of the Press Secretary.
"For context – because he's president – all of Trump's Tweets should be mocked up in the correct presidential statement format. It's telling," Cunnane tweeted on Sunday.
A tweet from Maggie Haberman, a White House correspondent for the New York Times, that said Trump's messages should be called statements also inspired him to create the bot.
Neiss said he wrote up a simple Python script to call Twitter's data tool REST API for the latest tweets from the account, check if it has been seen before and then take the text of the tweet to be reformatted into the 'statement' image. The image is then uploaded using more Python code and the twitter API.
The new Twitter bot also comes as White House aide Kellyanne Conway draws fierce criticism for characterising the media's coverage of Trump's tweets as an "obsession".
"It's become clear that the statements by the president's surrogates and press secretary don't always seem to jive with what he himself articulates publicly via his statements on Twitter," Neiss told IBTimes UK.
"As more folks realize that Twitter is the only platform that the President seems willing and able to share his unfiltered views, the statements from that platform ought to take on a greater importance. The bot merely gives them the platform that is befitting the highest office in the land."
This isn't first Twitter bot for Neiss either.
His previously viral, haunting Twitter bot tweeted the names, photos and heartbreaking fates of refugees who fled Nazi Germany in 1939 on the MS Louis - the German transatlantic liner that was denied entry into Cuba and the US and was forced to return to Europe.
The @Stl_Manifest Twitter account came after Trump signed the controversial travel ban barring travellers from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, suspending the entire US refugee programme and banning refugees fleeing the war in Syria from entering.
Many social media users praised the account as a great idea for presenting Trump's tweets as presidential tweets and giving them gravity. Others said they decided to unfollow Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's account in lieu of @RealPressSecBot.
Some Twitter users even dubbed the bot a better alternative to Spicer.
"Given that the Press Secretary's formal statements from the podium are often contradicted mere hours afterward by POTUS's tweets, I don't think that's completely unfair," Neiss said.
He added that he would like to see people stop referring to Trump's posts on Twitter as mere tweets, but rather as "presidential statements on Twitter."
"Anecdotally that seems to now be happening with greater frequency," he said.