Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has been tweeting up a storm lately. He’s been trash-talking Donald Trump. Trading banter with Jimmy Fallon. Dropping emoji faster than a hard-crushing millennial.
This is not part of a strategic decision to raise the mayor’s profile, according to spokeswoman Lauren Hitt, who also swears she hasn’t been on vacation, like the time her boss decided to rock a Bob Marley shirt during Philly Free Streets (“I was joking about my disapproval of the Marley t-shirt, though deadly serious about my critique of the cargo shorts,” she says).
This is just who Jim Kenney is.
Yes, Philly Twitter, @JimFKenney is back. 🙌
Mayor Kenney got a rep as an no-holds-barred Twitter hound during his years as city councilman, but he wasn’t always that way. His public social media life had a bumpy start. A few months after he first signed up, in September 2011, he got in a bit of a blush when the Daily News revealed he was paying a private comms firm $29k a year to run his account for him.
“I, at 53 years old, do not have that facility,” he told the paper as justification for why he wasn’t tweeting on his own.
Apparently, he learned. Following the dustup, he began sending out his own missives — and boy were they ever personal. As Philly Mag recounted in a January 2015 article (in which it was noted Kenney “probably” wouldn’t run for mayor; so much for that), the St. Joe’s Prep grad tweeted his heart out.
He laid bare his feelings on everything from Justin Bieber to Beyonce to shopping to marijuana decriminalization in Philly — a concept he eventually got passed into law.
Councilman Kenney basically embraced Twitter like a closeted rockstar who’d finally found his mic.
But when he took office as the 99th mayor of Philadelphia at the beginning of this year, things calmed down a bit. His team rolled out a new account, @PhillyMayor, and announced it would be run by his staff. @JimFKenney still existed — with the man himself at the helm — but it was relatively subdued.
These past few weeks, Mayor Kenney has been on a Twitter rampage.
He’s nicknamed Donald Trump the “Hombre Malo,” and called him “temperamentally unfit,” “less than sophomoric” and “a liar and a weirdo perv.” He’s also gone after Trump surrogates, calling Mike Pence “wrong on every issue,” describing Rudy Giuliani as “wild eye crazy,” making fun of GOP spokespeople defending the “pussy grab” comments and hounding Pat Toomey, the Pennsylvania senator who has thus far avoided endorsing either presidential candidate as he fights to retain his seat.
Kenney has also taken opportunity of being Twitter-active to weigh in on other important issues…like how awesome Carson Wentz has been and how horrible Jimmy Fallon’s “Philly” accent was on SNL.
Twitter has many flaws, but letting constituents see the human side of their elected officials is one of the positives. Welcome back, Mayor. We missed you.