By Delphine Luneau | The Center Square
When Donald Trump rose from a political outsider to claim the most powerful political job in the world — president of the U.S. — at least a portion of his success was attributed to his direct line of communication with the American people via his Twitter account.
But that avenue for airing his thoughts, grievances and political edicts appears to be closed for good after the social media platform announced Friday evening that it was closing down his account permanently.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the Twitter Safety account tweeted at 6:21 p.m. “In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.”
After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.https://t.co/CBpE1I6j8Y
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 8, 2021
The move follows Facebook’s announcement earlier Friday that Trump’s account on that platform would remain suspended through at least Jan. 20, the day that President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to be sworn in as Trump’s successor.
Both platforms, as well as others, had issued temporary suspensions on Wednesday after Trump sent out messages on social media that some viewed as tacitly supportive of the violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.
Twitter had reinstated Trump’s account on Thursday, and he used it on Friday to announce that he would not be attending Biden’s inauguration. In another tweet featuring his typical style of all-caps words and emphatic, repeated exclamation marks, he vowed that the political movement he leads wasn’t going away.
“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,” Trump wrote. “They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
In an unsigned blog post, Twitter said those two tweets had violated the platform’s “Glorification of Violence Policy” and dictated that his account be shut down.
“Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regards to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks,” the blog post said.
The blog post went on to make the case that the two tweets were likely to send a signal to Trump supporters that further attacks were welcomed. It suggested that by announcing he wouldn’t be at the inauguration, he was indicating to his followers that they were free to launch attacks on the ceremony.
“Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021,” the blog post said.