WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — Twitter announced today that it will delete Donald Trump’s account sometime within the next 48 hours because of what the company calls “Trump’s racist and divisive rhetoric”.
“Twitter will not tolerate active users, whose only message is one of hate, racism and intolerance. Donald Trump may have been elected to the White House, but at least someone can stand up to him, for the American people and say, ‘No Mr. Trump, we are not with you,’” Paul Horner, a spokesman for Twitter told reporters. “Everything he stands for is backwards. His appointment of racist Steve Bannon, the way he unites hate for the Muslim people in this country, his support of white power organizations. He appointed a cabinet full of billionaires and millionaires to standup for the lower and middle class. The person he puts in charge of the EPA denies climate change. His person in charge of education doesn’t believe in public education. The American people should not accept this. The children of this country deserve a leader who will build a successful future for them. Twitter will not aid and abet him as he makes a mockery of the Presidency. We have no choice but to delete his account.”
President-elect Trump released an official response in which he called the company’s plan “laughable” and advised the people at Twitter to “tread lightly, because [he] is already working with [his] attorneys to resolve the situation,” a situation that Mr. Trump says will end “very badly” for anyone who tries to silence him.
A source close to the Trump transition team has told CNN News that President-elect Trump has already set up a new Twitter account, @WHDonaldTrump, which the president-elect plans to begin using immediately after Twitter shuts down his primary account. That same source also said that if Twitter shuts down that account, he will simply keep making more new accounts.
Trump won the general election thanks in large part to the enthusiastic support that he received from the alt-right, a blanket term given to a right wing political faction that includes people from the white supremacist and white nationalist movements. Twitter says they have already deleted several profiles belonging to members of the group.
Cassandra Schmidt, a professor of political science at Northern Arizona University, says that she finds the entire situation very troubling.
“Clearly, you have a man in Donald Trump who is dangerously incompetent and is a clear threat to everything this country stands for. His rhetoric on everything from immigration to the first amendment is terrifying, but I’m still worried about what Twitter is doing from a freedom of speech perspective. Donald Trump may be vile, but even Nazis are protected by the first amendment. I think that by deleting his account, they will only be turning him into a digital martyr. As a society we have a moral duty to confront and disarm bigotry, but I don’t think this is the right way to do it.”
Like Professor Schmidt, Trump supporter Lawrence Ketchum believes that Twitter is violating the President-elect’s freedom of speech.
“Does Twitter seriously think that they can silence Donald Trump by deleting his account?” Ketchum said. “Donald Trump is going to be the next president, and regardless of what the people at Twitter or other liberal elites try to do, Donald Trump has the ears of the American people. The only thing Twitter is doing here is proving that they don’t care about freedom of speech.”
Concerns from critics have done little to weaken Twitter’s resolve, however. CEO Jack Dorsey fired back at critics and doubled down on the company’s plan to ban President-elect Trump.
“Some people are saying that this is a freedom of speech issue, that we’re simply trying to silence people who disagree with us. This is not the case. As a private entity, Twitter has every right to ban abusive users. We expect all individuals who use Twitter to abide by certain behavioral expectations along with our terms and conditions. Donald Trump has failed to meet these expectations time and time again. He can find another website to spread his vitriol.”
Twitter said it is not worried about the strong possibility of being thrown into labor camps once Trump is sworn into office.
Twitter has setup a hotline for those wishing to voice any concerns or comments over the company’s impending ban of Donald Trump. That hotline’s phone number is (785) 273-0325.