Social media was buzzing on Monday after the biographies of US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the website of the State Department were altered to say their term was coming to an end on Monday.
Two current-serving diplomats with knowledge of the situation told BuzzFeed News that the changes were made by a “disgruntled employee” at the State Department.
The president’s biography was changed to read, “Donald J. Trump's term ended on 2021-01-11 19:49:00,” while the vice president’s biography was edited to “Michael R. Pence's term ended on 2021-01-11 19:44:22.”
The time stamp on Trump's page changed multiple times, noted BuzzFeed, before both pages were removed around 3:50 p.m. and replaced with a 404 reading, "We’re sorry, this site is currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again in a few moments."
One of the diplomats said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has ordered an internal investigation into the matter, beginning with interns and employees leaving the State Department this week and next ahead of the transition to the Biden administration.
Both diplomats said that an investigation into the matter could be a challenge, considering how many people have administrative access to the content management system used for the State Department’s official website.
Reached for comment on the site changes, the White House referred BuzzFeed News to the State Department, which did not immediately provide one.