US Army Accidentally Tweets 'Trump Lies'

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a primary night news conference, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a primary night news conference, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The U.S. Army called the Republican presidential candidate a liar in an errant tweet.

The service issued an apology after accidentally tweeting, "Trump Lies Once Every 3 Minutes, 15 Seconds." The message linked to an article on a website called www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com, founded to advance civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The tweet was swiftly taken down from the Army's Twitter page, but had already circulated on social media, including on a Facebook page called "U.S Army W.T.F! Moments," whose curator on Tuesday chided the service for the mistake.

"Here at USAWTFM, we treat our page and our Twitter account very seriously," states a message above a screen grab of the tweet. "Our admins have clearances, great levels of responsibility, and some of us could be professionally ruined for being involved with this page. As many of you may know, we're also IDIOTS. With that said, you don't see us 'accidentally' posting links to partisan political viewpoints on our online presences."

The Facebook post collected 780 reactions, 109 shares and 199 comments as of 9 p.m. Wednesday East Coast time.

One commenter called for the Army official who mistakenly posted the tweet to be fired. Another asked how often Trump's Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton lies.

Yet another wrote, "Someone obviously posted as the US Army page instead of their personal account. I'd do a little double checking if my post was potentially going out to over 4 million people."

In a statement to Military.com, the service said an employee "mistakenly posted a political article to the Army's Twitter page that was intended for her personal account." Her access to the service's social media account has been suspended, according to the statement. "The post is not the official position of the US Army," it said. "We apologize for any confusion this may have caused our followers."

The statement didn't specify whether the employee was a civilian or service member.

A Defense Department directive, identified as 1344.10 and enforceable under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, prohibits service members from attending or speaking at political events in uniform. It also blocks them from using their rank, branch of service or Defense Department emblems in connection with political events or causes.

Trump and Clinton discussed a number of national-security issues during the first presidential debate on Monday night. They are scheduled to participate in two more such forums before the Nov. 8 presidential election.

-- Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify where the Pentagon details prohibitions on service members participating in political activities in the 11th paragraph.

--Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

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