White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would probably do as well as Eric Gordon on an ethics exam, so it’s not much of a surprise that she’d use the official @PressSec Twitter handle to air personal information and complain about a consumer product from a company for whom her boss has little love. That’s exactly what happened on Sunday when Sanders used the account to tweet that her 2-year-old child somehow ordered an $80 Batman toy just by screaming “Batman!” at an Amazon Echo.
Sure, it seemed innocuous, but former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub popped in to remind her that there’s a protocol to follow when it comes to government accounts. You’d think she’d have learned that in September when her reckless Twittering got her an ethics complaint.
What’s worse? The offending tweet is total bullshit.
As the whiz kids over at TechCrunch point out, that’s not how Alexa’s ordering system works. They even conducted a test using a variety of “Batman!”-related phrases. Surprise! They didn’t end up with an $80 Batman toy.
Now, benefit of the doubt, perhaps Sanders didn’t mean the 2-year old had only shouted the one word, “Batman!,” but made some other voice request to trigger the order instead. Perhaps she was speaking more casually in her tweet?
Going with this assumption, we tested a variety of keyword triggers: shouting Batman, shouting Batman repeatedly, saying “I want Batman,” “give me Batman” – and even asking some of them again, in hopes of triggering the order when the command is repeated. (See video above.)
But we were only successful after instructing Alexa to “order Batman.” That’s when Alexa returned information about a Batman product, and then asked us to confirm the order. (We said “no.”)
There’s even a video.
So, was she joking? Typically, a tweet that doesn’t include a setup, punchline, or hint of comedy wouldn’t be confused as such, but this is the Huckabees we’re talking about. Anybody forced to weather her dad’s brand of “humor” for a lifetime would inevitably be confused by that which is genuinely amusing.
Alas, as with her boss’ presidency, this is no a joke. Just another baffling, blustery tweet that will, as with all White House declarations these days, combust noiselessly into a black hole of fantasy.