Well, Oct. 30 certainly has been anything but a slow news day in Washington. Following the announcement that special counsel Robert Mueller would file his first indictments in the Russia probe on Oct. 27, on Monday we learned that two individuals associated with Donald Trump's 2016 campaign have been charged on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to launder money. We also learned that another individual associated with the campaign has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. So amid all of these explosive news revelations, what does the GOP's official Twitter account choose to post? An Ivanka Trump “Happy Birthday” tweet.
The tweet is incredibly ill-timed for a number of reasons. Not only is the Republican Party failing to make a comment on a matter that directly affects their party's stake in D.C., it flat-out looks silly to avoid what is actually making headlines today, and instead choose to send wishes to the president's daughter. It's also a funny coincidence that this so-called "indictment day" just happens to be on the same day as Ivanka Trump's birthday. It's definitely not a birthday present that I would imagine she was expecting.
Twitter users had a lot to say in response to the GOP tweet — and it's pretty hilarious.
Lots of users found it amusing the indictments came on the same day as Ivanka's birthday:
While others conjectured that her husband, Jared Kushner, could be the next name to come out of the investigation:
But for the most part, users just laughed at the GOP's ridiculous timing:
News that the first indictments would be filed broke in the evening on Oct. 27, when special counsel Robert Mueller and his team had the charges approved by a grand jury, and and we learned that those names could be disclosed to the public as early as Monday morning. In a series of tweets on Oct. 29, President Trump maintained that the investigation is a "witch hunt" and once again, shifted focus to Hillary Clinton and her campaign's alleged connection to Russia.
On Oct. 30, two individuals were named in the indictment. Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, and Rick Gates, Manafort's business associate who also worked on the Trump campaign, were charged on 12 counts. According to Reuters, a member of the special counsel's team stated once the news broke:
“The indictment contains 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts,”
But the news didn't stop at Manafort and Gates. About 90 minutes after the first two indictments were announced, we learned that a third individual associated to Trump was named in the Russia probe. George Papadopolous, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, was arrested back in July as a result of the investigation. He plead guilty on Oct. 5, where he admitted to lying about his contact with a Russian professor who had connections to the Kremlin. Papadopolous has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel as the investigation continues.
Trump, of course, brushed off the indictments of Manafort and Gates in a tweet not long after the news was first announced. Although the indictments are certainly alarming, Trump rightfully notes that the charges don't necessarily prove collusion with Russia.
He did not, however, comment on the Papadopolous plea deal — a much harder pill for Trump to swallow. And assuming the GOP is in as much of a bind as the White House is following this news, it's probably why they chose to deflect from the Papadopolous plea and chose to focus on Ivanka Trump instead.
As this investigation continues and more indictments are served, it'll become a lot harder for Trump's administration to distract the GOP and his base from the severity of this investigation. If the White House is going to continue with this tactic, they're going to need to get a lot more creative — and fast.