Pennsylvania Lt. Governor: Claiming Election Was ‘Rigged’ Isn’t ‘Protected Speech’

January 16, 2021 Updated: January 16, 2021

Calling the 2020 election “rigged” or stolen is not speech protected by the Constitution, Pennsylvania lieutenant governor alleged Friday.

“This idea that saying that Pennsylvania was ‘rigged’ or that we were ‘trying to steal the election,’ that’s a lie,” Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, told The Hill. “And you do not have the right, that is not protected speech.”

Twitter banning President Donald Trump was not “de-platforming” but “deleting lies that are yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater when there is none,” Fetterman added.

“That is not protected speech. He can talk all day about what his favorite football team is or that he’s the greatest president in the history of the world, but no one—Republican, Democrat, or whatever—has the right to say those kind [sic] of incendiary lies.”

The U.S. Constitution prohibits Congress from making laws abridging freedom of speech.

A number of people pushed back on the claims from Fetterman, who is mulling running for the U.S. Senate in 2022.

“What if the lies about ‘trying to steal the election’ are published and echoed by the republic’s most prominent media outlets, and are repeatedly debunked but nevertheless consistently revived by those outlets quoting anonymous officials, over half a decade? Hypothetically?” Omri Ceren, an adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), wrote in a tweet, referring to how media outlets promoted claims that the 2016 election.

“WARNING LABEL: ‘This claim is determined to be ridiculously false.’ Signed, U.S. Constitution,” added Sharyl Attkisson, a journalist who contributes to The Epoch Times.

Fetterman’s comments came several days after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) proposed convening a commission “to figure out how we rein in our media environment so that you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation.”

“It’s one thing to have differing opinions, but it’s another thing entirely to just say things that are false,” she said in an Instagram video.

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