It doesn’t matter if you follow him on Twitter or not. It doesn’t matter if you’re conservative or liberal. President Trump will be directly sending a message to your phone on Wednesday, as part of a nationwide test of the government’s emergency alert system.
Beginning at 2:18 p.m. ET, the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System will send the test message to all U.S. cellphones on major carriers. President Trump is the only person that can send the message — and you can’t turn off notifications for it.
“Presidential Alert,” the message will begin, followed by a brief text: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
The new messaging system traces its roots back to the George W. Bush White House, when the president called for a national warning system after the U.S. government was criticized for its reaction the Hurricane Katrina. If a real national crisis were to happen, President Trump could leverage the alert system to send a nationwide warning. The message is sent by the same institution that handles Amber Alerts.
It also might be hard to miss the test message. Not only are people unable to opt out, but the “special tone” accompanying the message can be “quite loud,” according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.