The Loyalists

Scott Presler has been tweeting at President Trump for months. He targets Attorney General Jeff Sessions, too, as well as White House adviser Kellyanne Conway. Sometimes, figures from the Trump administration even tweet back at the conservative political operative.

Presler, the 28-year-old field operations coordinator at ACT for America, a political group focused on national security, had 10,000 followers on Twitter a year ago; now @ScottPresler has more than 76,000 followers. A photograph of Presler and two friends holding a Gays for Trump poster was retweeted by General Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who resigned in February. Conway even replied to a Presler tweet by tweeting, "God bless you all."

"I'm pretty good at marketing myself on Twitter," Presler said in a phone interview. "It's using trending hashtags, replying to President Trump and top people."

His time spent on Twitter is, in part, an extension of his work as a political organizer. "I truly believe in President Trump's vision and message. What I'm trying to do now is positive and uplifting," he said. "That's one reason people come to my Twitter account. I don't want to bring people down." He replies to fellow Trump supporters as well as to Trump critics.

The person behind @TrumpsGucciGirl, who asked not to be identified by her real name, can claim the ultimate achievement for a Trump loyalist on Twitter: an interaction with @realDonaldTrump himself. In August 2016, GucciGirl posted about then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, with whom Trump was engaged in a public feud. The future president copied and pasted her tweet into his Twitter feed for all his followers to see.

"It was kind of fun," she said. "It's my pinned tweet!"

GucciGirl is on Twitter exclusively for @realDonaldTrump. She doesn't follow anyone else and doesn't plan to. The vast majority of her nearly 31,000 tweets are related to Trump. "I only follow him, because that's my only interest," she said. "I'm not on there to make friends. We all have our own lives."

Her social media monomania encompasses all things Trump, from the serious (sanctions against Russia) to the trivial (the first lady's official portrait). She tweets while multitasking on her desktop computer. "I'm quite surprised; it becomes a little addictive," she said. "I thought by the time the election was over, that would be the end of it."

Unlike other loyalists, @TylerDoor doesn't particularly love President Trump. He didn't vote for him and, in an interview in which he declined to use his real name, expressed some criticism of the president's demeanor. But few things Trump has done in office bother @TylerDoor nearly as much as the withering insults Trump receives from critics on Twitter. "The people would say, 'Little hands, you're a Nazi, you're a fascist, you have orange hair.' Things that—almost—a teenager would do," @TylerDoor said.

He noticed these attacks on the president appended just beneath the messages of @realDonaldTrump. "What's more disturbing is they were given a platform, that somehow Twitter gives them the top spaces," @TylerDoor said. "I look at these people's profiles—they aren't famous people or political minds." The sequence of replies follows an algorithm; Twitter was asked to specify how it ranks replies but did not respond to questions.

Instead of tweeting directly at Trump, which @TylerDoor believes wouldn't be seen by the president, he engages with detractors who tweet at the president. "Sometimes they respond, and then you get a dialogue going," he said. "I just get so annoyed by the content of what they're posting."