Twitter was told it was "bounced" from Wednesday's meeting between tech executives and President-elect Donald Trump in retribution for refusing during the campaign to allow an emoji version of the hashtag #CrookedHillary, according to a source close to the situation.
But the Trump campaign is denying the report to The Hill with a statement blasting the press for reporting it:
[Trump transition adviser and RNC communications director Sean] Spicer denied involvement, saying in an email to The Hill that he “had absolutely nothing to do with this meeting.” And in a tweet, he called reports that the failed emoji deal led to Dorsey's lack of invitation “another example of false, reprehensible, pathetic, tabloid faux journalism.”
What isn't in dispute is that the Trump campaign had said they were angered when Dorsey personally shut down the "emoji" negotiation during the campaign. The deal would have replaced "#CrookedHillary" on the social media platform with an "emoji" (a small image icon) of small bags of money being stolen. Trump had used the insult to "brand" Hillary during the campaign, and this deal would have reinforced the tagline every time someone added a hashtag of the term to their tweet.
Politico quoted Gary Colby, Trump's director of digital advertising, on reports of the fiasco:
"We told them it was BS and what they were doing with a public platform was incredibly reckless and dangerous," wrote Coby of the back-and-forth between the Trump operation and Twitter.
According to the source, RNC spokesman Sean Spicer, who is an adviser to the Trump transition, made the call to refuse an invitation to Dorsey or other Twitter executives to the meeting, which was organized by Silicon Valley investor and Facebook board member Peter Thiel, who has been an adviser to Trump. The Trump-Pence transition team also did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump has been trying to shake the critique of his detractors that he is dangerously vindictive and thin-skinned, so it's no surprise they would deny the strange report so vehemently.
This didn't help:
transition aide, asked if Twitter was kept from Trump tech meeting over emoji flap: "Twitter wasn't invited because they aren't big enough"— John Harwood (@John Harwood)1481751940.0
It looks like the absurdist circus of the election campaign will carry over smoothly into Trump's presidential term.