Former President Trump’s tweets have been a topic of great controversy for quite some time. Recently, he took action to sue Google, Facebook, and Twitter because they “block[ed] him from posting.” Citing the first amendment for this lawsuit, he believed that it was his individual right to post whatever he chooses. The first amendment of “free speech” applies to the government (not private social media companies). Despite this fact, Trump and his team are flooring this political stunt to the highest degree they can. To fully understand why his argument does not stand, we have to take a look at the location of his announcements.
So, why Florida?
Governor DeSantis of Florida imposed a law stating that social media companies will be fined for blocking political figures’ posts. He said that he signed this bill in order to complete “guaranteed protection against the Silicon Valley elites.” Thankfully, that partisan-motivated bill was blocked. Even though it was prevented, Florida is one of the most conservative states that approves Trump’s future goals. I witnessed this firsthand as a college student living there, seeing the Covid-19 rates rise due to the large population of unvaccinated Americans.
Before DeSantis can make this accusation, we need to understand why Donald Trump’s Twitter account was permanently suspended. It wasn’t due to unfactual information, or discriminatory and hateful messaging. However, according to Twitter’s message, his account was permanently suspended due to “incitement of violence.” The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, occurred because Trump told his followers to do so.
Decrees on January 6th
During a Trump rally that day, he was amping up his followers to stop the Senate certification of Biden’s presidential win. Here is the direct quote that led to the violence later that day:
“Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you… We are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give — the Democrats are hopeless, they are never voting for anything, not even one vote, but we are going to try — give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re try — going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
This video recording is direct proof of the incitement on that terrifying day. You would expect any representative after that messaging to try and stop the immediate march at hand. During the mob attack, however, he did not disapprove of his followers breaking the windows of the Capitol. He sent the following tweet, saying,
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Twitter blocked his tweets for the rest of that day, but Trump did not need social media to spread his word. His followers clung to his words like religion, and they still do. Fox News has not called out his coop attack to this day.
When in doubt, deny
He used denial before and will use it again. After the coop attack, he denied encouraging his followers to attack American democracy even though it is on the internet for everyone to see. At first, I wondered how he could say these things with no public reaction. Now I understand that his supporters have become so desensitized, there is nothing he could say, or do, to discredit himself. This has become quite evident since his past presidential term.
Denial of the presidential election popular vote in 2016 was one of the first clear-cut examples of this tactic. Even though democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won the popular quote, he still called the election “rigged” at the time. When asked about his thoughts during a rally, he exclaimed:
“I would like to promise and pledge, to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election. If…I…win!”
Not only is this a political tactic, but it is also a tactic that excuses sexual assault allegations. Since he has more than 25 allegations, he is very familiar with that kind of attention. I saw Bob Woodward, publisher of The Pentagon Papers at The Washington Post, speak in person at an event back in 2016. He revealed Trump’s answer when asking him about the #MeToo movement for his book Fear: Trump in the White House.
“You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women. If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead. You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to be aggressive. You’ve got to push back hard. You’ve got to deny anything that’s said about you. Never admit.”
Misogynistic political remarks
There are too many tweets and quotes to count that should have suspended him from the start. Here are some that bring me back to the reality of our previous president.
About Hillary Clinton in 2015:
“If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
About her campaign:
“The only card [Hillary Clinton] has is the woman’s card. She’s got nothing else to offer and frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card, and the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her.“
About a Megyn Kelly interview in 2015:
“She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
About Lindsey Lohan in 2004:
“What do you think of Lindsay Lohan? There’s something there, right? But you have to like freckles. I’ve seen a close-up of her chest. And a lot of freckles. Are you into freckles? …She’s probably deeply troubled, and therefore great in bed. How come the deeply troubled women — deeply, deeply troubled — they’re always the best in bed?”
This quote truly details the misogynistic mindset that he parades in his day-to-day life. When asked about women in 2015, he answered:
“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
The comments do not stop with women he isn’t related to. Not only does he talk about women all over the media, he even comments on the looks of his wife and daughters:
About his daughter Ivanka Trump in 2004:
“She does have a very nice figure … if [she] weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
About Melania Trump in 2005 when a reporter asked if he would stay with her if she was in a car crash:
“How do the breasts look?”
When reading through the plentiful vulgar statements that he has stated, it astounds me that his social media platform has not been taken down earlier. Since the former president will not admit the wrongdoings he committed, it is clear that the public has to prevent it. But to what extent will it take for his followers to recognize this behavior? I am not sure if it will ever come to fruition. I know that many followers are his fans because of his misogynistic, volatile nature. His tweets normalized racism, misogyny, and ableism in a way it has never been before. There is no more shame in hateful words, but quite the contrary: a sense of pride.
‘Inciting violence’ and ‘hateful messaging’ are reasons enough to keep him from a platform he so desperately craves.