Looking at Congressman Ron Freemen’s Twitter account is like looking at a “spot the difference” puzzle -- one of those ludicrously easy ones found on a kids menu at Applebee’s.
If you squint, it looks like a normal Minnesota congressman’s Twitter profile. There’s a photo of a smiling white guy over 50. His blandly positive bio says he’s “representing the great people of Minnesota’s 9th congressional district,” and that he’s a Republican.
Then it occurs to you: There is no 9th district in Minnesota. There hasn’t been since 1963.
Rep. Ron Freemen is the rep of exactly nothing.
That’s the thread that starts to unravel the whole thing. With a little digging, you’ll find out the smiling white guy in the photo is actually former Rep. Tom Allen, who on top of not having been in the House since 2008, is also a Maine Democrat.
And then there’s the cherry on top of this imaginary sundae: Freemen wrote “Go Badgers!” in his bio.
“Go Badgers” is really what elevates this to art.— Ryan Ames (@rdames44) May 8, 2018
Apparently, the 9th district is in Wisconsin— Politicsjunkie8 (@PoliticsJunkie9) May 8, 2018
Based on his tweets, the alleged Freemen is a Trump-boosting, gun-toting, anti-Semitic, white supremacist #MAGA conservative. Pinned right to the top: “I’m sponsoring a bill authorizing the National Guard and Border Patrol to use deadly force and shoot to kill anyone found to be sneaking across the US border.”
Some more gems further down: “Is it time for public #schools all across the country to start #teaching “#White #history” & help counter all the #antiWhite #propaganda in #media today?”
Politics in the 9th district seem kind of extreme.
But the thing is, as impossible as this fake rep from a fake district is, a lot of Twitter users reacted to his content as if it were from a real legislator. Some of his 1,500 followers were outraged and repulsed.
Um, these are families you're threatening to shoot down. Is that the legacy you want to be remembered for?— Travis Real (@trreal) May 8, 2018
Can yall mayonnaise packets stop acting like you're actually oppressed instead— ◇ SHAY ◇ (@Catstretto) May 2, 2018
But some were way on board.
If we let everyone in next thing you know thousands more will show up at the borders!! @POTUS need to send a message to immigrants!!— Cissyy (@Cissyyii) May 1, 2018
Hell Yeah!!! If you run into trouble in Minnesota move to Tx we will elect you in a heartbeat!— NRA4LIFE (@m_mmilling) May 6, 2018
And at a certain point, it started to get a little sad.
@RepRonFreemen I wish my Congressman followed me. More people in congress should follow their constituents so they can get a better feel of what is going on in their district. Tell Patrick McHenry for me. & you reached out to me! Thank you— Jim & Cami (@strup2823) April 26, 2018
Not everyone was fooled. Some followed the breadcrumb trail to the conclusion that Freemen is the congressional equivalent of Slenderman, and they did it way before Twitter finally got the message and suspended his account.
But it all seemed so trite, so obvious. The holes in Freemen’s facade were big enough to drive a pickup truck painted with Confederate colors through them. People started to speculate about whether this was a genuine attempt to deceive, or some kooky form of performance art.
Maybe this was a conservative person trying to troll liberals, or a liberal trying troll conservatives by tricking them into agreeing with the vilest imaginary congressman they could conceive.
But one thing people seemed to agree on: If this was all a big joke, it wasn’t actually that funny.
You’re a fake congressman but you’re a real dumbass— Adam Robertson (@coolnormalguy) April 24, 2018