Senators are not letting the impeachment trial’s restrictions on modern technology stop them. From Apple Watches to staffs’ rapid response efforts on Twitter, the senators are finding ways to use technology around the all-consuming trial.
Rules applying to the impeachment trial of President Trump mean that senators cannot use electronic devices such as cellphones on the Senate floor during the trial. When Sen. Ted Cruz’s Twitter account began showing tweets during the trial, left-leaning political opponents criticized him.
In response to former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart requesting Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey investigate the Texas Republican’s social media use, Mr. Cruz’s Twitter account responded in a tweet with a Texan meme including the words “Come And Take It.”
Mr. Cruz’s staff later confirmed that it was tweeting on behalf of the senator.
“Sen. Cruz’s staff can walk and chew gum at the same time,” said Cruz spokeswoman Lauren Aronson. “Sen. Cruz is all about winning hearts and minds through humor on social media.”
His team is not just using social media to needle political adversaries, but also to solicit feedback about how to approach the impeachment proceedings. He is recording a daily podcast published to YouTube during the trial dubbed “Verdict with Ted Cruz.”
“Anyone listening to this let me say if you have a question that you think needs to be asked — needs to be asked to the House managers or needs to be asked of the White House team, use Twitter,” Mr. Cruz said on the podcast. “I’m @TedCruz and just use the hashtag ‘verdict’ and we’re going to be watching Twitter to get ideas from you.”
Senators on both sides of the aisle are using social media to amplify their message about impeachment in real-time. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s official Senate Twitter account — separate from the one she uses on the Democratic presidential campaign trail — is being operated entirely by staff during the impeachment trial.
The Massachusetts Democrat tweeted that she was “handing over the keys” to her social media during the trial because of the Senate ban on phones in the chamber. Her team has not been afraid to engage in the political scrum surrounding the impeachment in her immediate absence online, however.
“The rules that Senator McConnell & the Republicans rammed through the Senate [Wednesday] are designed to protect President Trump — not guarantee a fair & honest trial,” Ms. Warren’s account tweeted. “The rules are rigged.”
It’s not clear how strict or flexible the rules are about electronics and technology on the Senate floor. As many as eight senators were spotted sporting Apple Watches during Tuesday’s opening impeachment proceedings, according to a Roll Call report that discovered six Republican and two Democratic lawmakers with the wearable technology.
While Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has admonished House managers and the White House team’s bitter attacks on one another, senators with wearable tech have not been criticized — yet.