U.S. agency employees refuse to be muzzled by Trump administration

Following White House emails to various environmental agencies directing them to stop social media posts, an "unofficial resistance" team creates independent Twitter account.

Twitter account created to spread environmental, scientific knowledge

Badlands National Park had tweeted several scientific facts on Tuesday, but the tweets were soon deleted. (Sara Feldt, NPS)

A group of National Park Service employees has created an "unofficial resistance" Twitter account in opposition to the Trump administration's directive to the agency to cease social media posts.

The spat began when the U.S. National Parks Service, which runs the National Mall in Washington retweeted a post from the New York Times that compared Trump's inauguration numbers with that of Barack Obama's in 2009. The image showed significantly fewer attendees at Trump's inauguration.

Trump bristled at the comparison — as well as the millions who turned out in Saturday's Women's March across the U.S. and the world. 

As a result, the Interior Department briefly suspended its official Twitter accounts. Shortly after they were reinstated the same day, the National Parks issued an apology. It is believed that a former employee with access to the account posted the tweet.

​On Friday, less than an hour after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th U.S. president, his administration issued its "America First Energy Plan," which not only outlined an effort to revive coal, but also seemed to target the Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA), an agency which he said on his campaign trail that he planned to eliminate.

On Tuesday, the administration issued emails to EPA staff banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency's social media accounts. As of Wednesday afternoon, the last tweet sent by the agency was on January 19, a day before Trump took office.

On Tuesday, following a similar edict by the administration, the Badlands National Parks Twitter account began tweeting various scientific facts.

However, the tweets were soon deleted. It's unknown who deleted them.

There is an effort to organize a Scientists' March on Washington, similar to the Women's March that took place on Saturday.

The situation in the U.S. bears a striking resemblance to the assertion by Canadian scientists that they were muzzled under the Harper administration.


Nicole Mortillaro

Senior reporter, science

Based in Toronto, Nicole covers all things science for CBC News. As an amateur astronomer, Nicole can be found looking up at the night sky appreciating the marvels of our universe. She is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the author of several books. In 2021, she won the Kavli Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for a Quirks and Quarks audio special on the history and future of Black people in science. You can send her story ideas at