President Donald Trump finally unveiled his “fake news” awards on Wednesday evening, but it didn’t exactly have a smooth rollout.
Trump’s tweet plugging the awards led to a page on the GOP website, which couldn’t handle the surge in traffic and immediately crashed.
“The site is temporarily offline, we are working to bring it back up. Please try back later,” a message on the website read.
At other times, the message read: “This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.”
Others saw this:
— Matt Whitlock ?? (@mattdizwhitlock) January 18, 2018
For some periods, the entire GOP website was inaccessible. At others, it was just the “blog” entries hosting the fake awards and other entires.
More than an hour after Trump’s tweet announcing the awards, the site was at times slow and other times still offline.
The GOP tweeted that “traffic is off the charts.”
Tonight, https://t.co/YTZAIJpNhb saw more traffic than ever before. Even though the servers were scaled up, the interest was even greater than anticipated. Traffic is off the charts. Come back soon.
— GOP (@GOP) January 18, 2018
Trump himself once had very different feelings about websites that crash.
In 2013, when the Affordable Care Act rollout led to widespread website outages, Trump tweeted:
When a complex website is broken the best thing to do is blow it up and start all over again-then sue the culprits and use the proper team!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2013
While the crash attests to the interest in the “awards,” it also means the GOP couldn’t use them for one of the website’s main purposes: fundraising and soliciting email addresses and phone numbers.
The page featuring the awards included a red button for contributions as well as a signup for the party’s email and text message updates.