Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said that “everything which is published from [President Trump’s] authorized Twitter account is perceived by Moscow as his official statement.” He added that Putin gets regular statements regarding all sorts of politicians, and Trump’s tweets are included in these briefs as Putin is not a Twitter user.

In June, (now former) White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, in regards to the president’s tweets, that “The president is president of the United States … so they are considered official statements by the president of the United States.”

President Trump’s use of Twitter has been controversial since before the election. Since taking the presidency, he continues to voice both official statements and political opinions on the social media platform. Some have criticized his use of Twitter, pointing at contradictions in his tweets and U.S. policy, as well as condemning his brazen persona as a figurehead of the country; conversely, others have defended his right to speak freely, and lauded his lack of “politically correct” tweets, as well as backing many of his political statements.

Debates have sprung up in regards to whether or not the president has the same rights to free speech, and whether they should be allowed to use their office as a platform to condemn something like the NFL or dissenting celebrities. Members of the United States military do not have the same freedom of speech given to civilians, and they cannot use their uniform to voice their opinions, even if the military agrees with them. However, that too is a controversial subject and such behavior is not always recognized or punished.