The Republican’s bio page on the site briefly showed a line saying ” Donald J. TrumpHis term ended on 2021-01-11 19:48:41. ”
Although the post appeared about four hours earlier in US Eastern Time than the stated time, it sparked an online frenzy amid speculation that Mr. Trump may have resigned. before Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
Reports later revealed that the message was posted by a “disgruntled” employee of the ministry.
Two people familiar with the incident told The Associated Press that the department has opened an investigation.
They said that while the prospect that the entry was the work of a disgruntled employee couldn’t be ruled out, they had not yet drawn any conclusions.
A similar post also appeared on Vice President Mike Pence’s page.
Neither the ministry nor the White House had commented on the message at the time of writing.
The message was visible on the website for less than an hour, before being replaced with a text saying, “We’re sorry, this site is currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again in a few moments. ”
It came after days of widespread criticism of Mr. Trump’s role in provoking a riot at the US Capitol by supporters challenging the certification of Joe Bidenvictory in the presidential election in November.
Before the violence, Mr Trump had told his supporters to “fight a lot harder” – saying in a speech “you are allowed to follow very different rules”.
The Capitol violation had sent lawmakers underground and left five dead, dozens of people charged at the scenes and hundreds more cases are expected.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of a fair election, Mr. Trump has repeatedly challenged the validity of Mr. Biden’s substantial victory.
Congress Democrats on Monday launched a campaign to force the incumbent president out of office, introducing an impeachment article that accuses him of “inciting an insurgency.”
Mr. Trump is to be officially replaced as president by Mr. Biden on inauguration day on January 20.