If it’s Sunday, it’s time once again for Donald Trump’s regularly scheduled Sunday Morning Tweetstorm. This is where the crybaby President of the United States of America lashes out at all of the perceived slings and arrows of outrageous paranoia. And on this episode Trump outdoes himself by fouling the foundational American principle of freedom of speech.
This isn’t just another one of Trump’s reckless slurs of the press in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” Although he does, as usual, fling that bag of tweet-poop as part of his tedious and repetitive robo-ranting. That would be bad enough, but Trump higher, and more odious, aspirations on this occasion. So after complaining in several tweets that a story in the New York Times misreported that his “agreement” with Mexico on immigration was “fake news,” (it wasn’t), Trump unleashed this morsel of derp:
Twitter should let the banned Conservative Voices back onto their platform, without restriction. It’s called Freedom of Speech, remember. You are making a Giant Mistake!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2019
To be clear, Trump is coming to the defense of some virulently racist white nationalists (e.g. his base) who Twitter and other social media recently suspended from their platforms. The bannees include cretins like avowed neo-Nazi Paul Nehlen, conspiracy crackpot Alex Jones, hate monger Laura Loomer, hoaxster Jacob Wohl, and boss of the violent, neo fascist Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes.
Trump not only wants these abhorrent stains on society returned to Twitter, he wants them returned “without restrictions,” a privilege that no one else on Twitter enjoys. And according to Trump, not doing so would amount to a breach of their right to free speech.
Once again, Trump needs a lesson on the Constitution. The freedom of speech that is protected by the First Amendment is a prohibition imposed on the government. Private businesses can set their own rules, and do so in their terms of service. But there is a disturbing irony in Trump complaining about these repulsively violent StormTrumpers being suppressed while he is openly trying to destroy any media outlet that dares to criticize him. That is actually a breach of the First Amendment because he is the head of the government. Just last week he called for a boycott of CNN’s parent company, AT&T, in order to punish the news network for reporting on what Trump actually does and says. It is unprecedented for a U.S. president to push for a boycott of an American company with more than 250,000 employees.
For Trump to set himself up as a protector of free speech is patently absurd. The hallmark of his presidency is one of bullying and repression. And this isn’t the first time he’s tried to bully the social media community. He even took it upon himself to censor his critics on Twitter. Until the courts stepped in, Trump was blocking those critics from commenting on his Twitter posts. And yet, Trump has the audacity to cite freedom of speech as his reason for promoting the dissemination of vile messages of hate and violence. But then again, that’s really the only message he has.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.