Within hours of The Atlantic revealing that Mitt Romney maintains an anonymous Twitter account to keep tabs on the news (and his grandchildren), the account was uncovered. Credit for identifying @qaws9876, or Pierre Delecto, as the Utah senator’s secret Twitter handle goes to Slate’s Ashley Feinberg, the crack investigator who found James Comey’s burner account in 2017.
Evidence suggesting the account belongs to Romney was overwhelming, from the people he follows to the tweets he has liked. And on Monday, Romney confirmed it. “C’est moi,” the Republican senator said when asked if he is Pierre Delecto. Then the account was set to private.
Romney’s nom de tweet, which is of unclear origin, joins a long list of pseudonyms deployed in politics, especially in recent years. Here are some favorites from the past decade:
Carlos Danger — Disgraced New York congressman Anthony Weiner used this name, which he said references an inside joke between him and one other person, to send illicit pictures to young women.
David Dennison — A pseudonym used to refer to Donald Trump in a 2016 NDA with Stormy Daniels, in which the adult-film star agreed not to reveal her affair with the soon-to-be president.
Diane Reynolds — Chelsea Clinton’s alias when checking into hotel rooms and the name attached to her email address on the Clinton family server.
Elizabeth Carlisle — Former attorney general Loretta Lynch’s email alias.
George Fox — When former New York governor Eliot Spitzer set up appointments with high-end escorts, he used this name, which also happened to be that of a friend and campaign donor.
John Barron — Trump’s “go-to alias” when he wanted to serve as his own spokesperson but have the quotes attributed to someone else.
John Miller — Another fake Trump spokesperson who was actually Trump himself.
Lew Alcindor — Former attorney general Eric Holder used basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s birth name on his email while in office.
Ron Vara — A fictional expert who appears in White House economic adviser Peter Navarro’s 2011 book Death by China. The name is an anagram of Navarro.
Wayne Tracker — The name former secretary of State Rex Tillerson used to send emails about sensitive subjects such as climate change when he was the CEO of Exxon Mobil.