Identity of Twitter's 'President Trump' Revealed

Donald Trump Will McArdle Split - H 2015
AP Images; Courtesy of Will McArdle

Donald Trump Will McArdle Split - H 2015

The social-media parodist has been building a loyal following since Donald Trump announced his candidacy.

It's hard to parody a man like Donald Trump, but "President Trump" — a fake Twitter account that has amassed thousands of followers in recent weeks — seems to have cracked the formula. Since the mouthy mogul announced his candidacy last June, the account has been churning out a stream of politically-incorrect zingers aimed at everyone and everything in the real Trump's warpath. Some of the nastier tweets sound so authentically Trumpian ("For the record I don't have any beef with Rosie O'Donnell. She ate it all!"), they've been mistakenly attributed to the candidate himself. So who's behind the high jinks? The Hollywood Reporter tracked him down.

Who are you really?

My name is William McArdle and I'm actually a 32-year-old screenwriter here in California. I'm repped by Rick Berg and Rich Freeman at Code Entertainment and David Boxerbaum at Paradigm. I was the co-founder of Hollywood and Swine, the Hollywood parody but I haven't done it in over a year.

I see the account dates back to 2012. How were you so far ahead of the game?

I had originally started it in 2012 back when Trump was toying with the idea of running for president, hence the handle @writeinTrump, but then stopped when he didn't run. Then in the beginning of this summer I had to go to Boston, my hometown, because my dad was having an emergency triple-bypass and valve replaced. For nearly three weeks in the hospital and rehab, I just binge-watched cable news with him which happened to coincide with this wave of Trump. Basically the tweets were just my way of lifting my dad's spirits as he recovered. Then more people began re-tweeting them and following me, so I continued doing it since Trump and the news provided me with endless material.

Have you heard from the Trump campaign at all?

No response yet from the Trump camp. But Trump is always on Twitter, so I wouldn't be surprised if he's seen a tweet or two.

What does "the Trump voice" allow you to get away with?

Trump's voice allows a lot of freedom because he's completely irreverent. More importantly, he's an equal opportunity offender, who won't hesitate to go after Fox News any harder than he'll go after MSNBC or CNN if he feels they've wronged him. It's rare and refreshing that there's someone as politically-incorrect and unapologetic like Trump.

What tweets have gotten the biggest response?

The biggest response I got was when I when live-tweeted during the GOP Debate. Ann Coulter retweeted, "I not only made Hillary Clinton go to my wedding, but I made her be my Best Man." Another tweet that got shared a lot was, "Anyone know why Megan Kelly was so pissed at me during the #GOPDebate? I'm pretty sure I was never married to her."

How far do you think Trump will go?

If El Chapo doesn't get him, I think Trump is in it for the long haul. He's leading the polls, which no one thought was a serious possibility in early June. One of the best parts of doing a parody twitter account of Trump is marveling at his campaign's amazing resiliency. The greater the media backlash on him or the more controversies he's forced to weather, the more voters seem to be drawn to him. Trump even turned Fox News' viewers against the network because they were too harsh on him. The true test will be when weaker opponents start dropping out and if Trump can pick up those votes, but I wouldn't bet against him.

What do you actually think of Donald Trump?

I like Trump. People love pointing out how absurd he is as a candidate, but I think it's less absurd than the idea of another Bush-Clinton election. Trump has been great for politics so far. He's shaking things up and getting a lot of people interested in the election, as the record GOP debate ratings proved. It's too early to say if I'd vote for him, but I'm definitely excited to hear what he has to say on the issues in future debates.

Would you accept a job as a Trump speechwriter?


What are your screenplays about?

I have a comedy at CBS Films I wrote with Andy Marx called The Year of Living Without Her with Tom Dey attached as director. We also have another script, a supernatural thriller in development with Southpaw producers Peter and Alan Riche.

President Trump's thoughts on...

Same-sex marriage

The homeless

Megyn Kelly