Donald Trump held a Reddit AMA last night, possibly because he wanted to make sure he could still be in the news a little bit during the Democratic National Convention, but it didn’t go down like a typical AMA—which stands for “Ask Me Anything” if you’re new here. Usually, AMAs feature famous or un-famous people fielding random questions (again, “Ask Me Anything”) from all sorts of Redditors. However, Trump’s AMA was structured a little bit differently. For starters, it wasn’t held on the dedicated AM subreddit, it was held at r/The_Donald, a page devoted to Trump and supporting his campaign.
That on its own isn’t too weird, since even a tough guy like Trump likes to be coddled by his fans every once in a while, but it quickly became clear that Trump’s AMA had very little interest in the “Ask Me Anything” bit once the questions started coming in. Over the course of an hour, Trump answered only eight questions, including “What role should NASA play in helping to Make America Great Again?” (His response: “I think Nasa is wonderful!”) and “What is your plan for reducing or removing the influence of money on politics?” (“Keeping Crooked Hillary Clinton out of the White House!”).
It’s not that Trump managed to find the world’s most atypically respectful Redditors, though, as some people noticed right away that only certain users were allowed to ask questions and all others were deleted. NBC News reporter Benjy Sarlin explained on Twitter that the subreddit was “only allowing established supporters to participate,” with the page’s “pro-Trump mods” screening all of the questions beforehand.
One Twitter user noticed this firsthand when he tried asking Trump about his mysterious tax returns, only to realize that his account had been promptly banned:
Even Milo Yiannopoulous, one of the most cool-headed and thoughtful people on the internet, couldn’t get a word in:
Milo asked about net neutrality and the mods deleted his question pic.twitter.com/ZaPiGpomOU
— Adrianne Jeffries (@adrjeffries) July 27, 2016
The page’s mods later posted a message bragging about how they banned a total of 2,200 “shills”—which makes us wonder if that word now means the opposite of what it used to mean. If you’d like to read the questions that made it through their filter for yourself, you can see the entire Reddit thread at this link.