President Donald Trump's Twitter account was suspended on Friday evening, sparking celebrations from Trump's critics and anger from his supporters. The move came after Wednesday's riot at the U.S. Capitol when his supporters stormed the building while Congress was certifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory. The president's account was "due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter said.
In its statement Friday, Twitter said Trump went beyond what it could allow under its public interest framework. "It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open," the company said in its statement. "However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement."
Trump tweeted twice on Friday, and Twitter found both messages as violations of its rules. “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form," the president's first Friday tweet read. In a second tweet, Trump said he would not attend Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20. Twitter said both tweets were violations of their Glorification of Violence policy.
Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., was among those who criticized Twitter's decision. He called it "absolute insanity" and suggested "free-speech no longer exists in America" and "it died with big tech." However, the First Amendment only protects Americans from government censorship, not regulations set by private businesses. "Disgusting. Big Tech wants to cancel all 75M [Trump] supporters," Jason Miller, a senior advisor for Trump's 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted. "If you don’t think they’re coming for you next, you’re wrong." The White House has not commented on Twitter's decision.prevnext
Five deaths have been linked to Wednesday's riot at the Capitol, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for the removal of Trump from office. After a phone conference with House Democrats, Pelosi said she would begin impeachment proceedings if Trump does not resign "immediately." The riot was an "attack on the caucus, the Congress, the country and the Constitution that was incited and facilitated by Donald Trump," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said after the call, reports the New York Times. Trump would be the first president ever impeached twice if the House moves quickly to do so before Jan. 20.prevnext
Trump later moved to the @POTUS account to share a lengthy statement, accusing Twitter of coordinating "with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me — and YOU, the 75,000,000 great... patriots who voted for me." He went on to tease a "big announcement soon" while his team looks "at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future." The tweets were later removed.prevnext
How can anyone celebrate this? Free speech is dead. #TrumpBanned— Dean Browning (@DeanBrowningPA) January 9, 2021
Drink every time a Republican tweets the talking points the GOP just distributed about Donald Trump being banned from Twitter, which clearly mentions the Ayatollah. pic.twitter.com/G29QEzYQqD— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) January 9, 2021