Twitter has been Donald Trump’s primary source of communication. He has used it to intimidate, belittle, harass and of course, spread his lies. Politicians were forced to accept Trump or have their careers threatened in the form of an angry tweet.
Despite being a violation of its own harassment policies, Twitter allowed Trump tremendous leeway because Twitter claimed that blocking him would “hide important information”.
So, apparently world leaders were granted privileges that the common person cannot use. (Anyone who has spent time in Facebook “prison” knows what that means). And Trump definitely used that to his great advantage in creating an atmosphere of fear, intimidation and disinformation that his millions of minions slavishly followed. In essence, Trump was allowed to weaponize Twitter to his great advantage.
It was this very platform where Trump launched his assault on American democracy by encouraging his followers to violently overthrow the government so he could remain in power. Through a series of tweets, Trump invited them to a “wild” protest, and rally where they would launch the greatest threat to our government since the Civil War and only the second attack on the US Capitol.
After the election, Twitter started to get tougher as it began labeling Trump’s tweets about voter fraud and a rigged election as “misleading” and “disputed” as they began applying a new civic integrity policy aimed at preventing the spread of misinformation it had previously allowed.
After Trump tweeted his support of the rioters in DC, Twitter locked his account for twelve hours. Trump was undeterred and just used a staff member’s Twitter account. Once his account was unlocked, he issued what amounted to a “concession speech” after his staff threatened to invoke the 25th Amendment. Without naming President-elect Biden, Trump finally acknowledged his election loss and promised to work towards “a smooth orderly and seamless transition of power“ after weeks of denial and lies about voter fraud that resulted in the insurrection that left five people dead.
The last straw came after two tweets that appeared to be unrelated. The first was a message to extol his supporters to continue to have a “GIANT VOICE”, calling them “AMERICAN PATRIOTS”. The second tweet was a pronouncement that he would not be attending the inauguration of President Biden.
While the second tweet appeared innocuous, Twitter permanently suspended his account and issued a statement that summed up the reasoning. They stated that “taken in context with the horrific events of the week” the tweet announcing he would not be attending the inauguration was a veiled message to his supporters that, since Trump would not be there, it was safe to organize violent protests.
Undeterred, Trump took to his POTUS Twitter account to claim censorship. These tweets were taken down by Twitter.
This has left Trump literally “voiceless” as he has used Twitter as his primary weapon and mode of communication with his followers, and Facebook has blocked his account until at least Inauguration Day. While he could join the alt-right Parler, Google has already removed the app and Apple is threatening to do the same, severely limiting the amount of people Trump could reach.
Have we finally heard the last of Donald J. Trump?
That appears unlikely. Even as his days in the White House are dwindling, there are efforts to get him out even sooner, either by invoking the 25th Amendment, resignation or through soon-to-be filed Articles of Impeachment, which would make him the only president impeached twice.
If they go the impeachment route, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated he will delay any Senate hearings until after the inauguration, meaning Trump’s name will be in the news even after he is no longer in office.
Like a bad penny, Trump will keep turning up.