Continuing its unprecedented push to curtail communications from the nation’s top official, Twitter forced users to click if they wanted to view what Trump wrote but warned them: “This tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence.”
The post was not deleted because “it may be in the public’s interest” for it “to remain accessible,” the social media company said.
Trump, who has over 80 million followers on Twitter, wrote late Thursday about the riots that exploded in Minneapolis this week. Rioters burned buildings, smashed cars, and invaded a police station.
The president promised to send in the National Guard if Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, doesn’t “bring the City under control.”
In a follow-up missive—the one Twitter censored—Trump wrote, “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment. On Friday, the White House posted what Trump wrote in full. Twitter also hid that tweet.
“Twitter is targeting the President of the United States 24/7, while turning their heads to protest organizers who are planning, plotting, and communicating their next moves daily on this very platform. Twitter is full of [expletive]- more and more people are beginning to get it,” Dan Scavino, a White House communications official, wrote on his social media page.
Trump took to the platform early Friday to accuse Twitter of ignoring “lies” and “propaganda” being put out by the Chinese Communist Party or Democratic lawmakers in the United States.
“They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States. Section 230 should be revoked by Congress. Until then, it will be regulated!” he said.
Twitter’s unprecedented interference in communications from the president of the United States comes after its first so-called fact check was placed on a tweet from Trump about alleged voter fraud.
Twitter has not placed any labels on tweets from former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s presumptive challenger in the November presidential elections, nor has it appended fact checks to or hidden missives from any lawmakers, Democrat or Republican.
“What about all of the lies and fraudulent statements made by Adam Schiff, and so many others, on the Russian Witch Hunt Plus, Plus, Plus? What about China’s propaganda? WHO’s mistakes? No flags?” Trump added.
The company’s actions prompted fierce backlash. Lawmakers said they’re moving to revoke the special status and immunity Twitter receives from publisher liability under the Communications Decency Act, arguing the fact check suggests the company is targeting Trump for political reasons.
Trump earlier Thursday signed an executive order directing federal agencies to develop regulations under the act, which protects social media companies from being sued for user content. Trump said he maintains a presence on Twitter to push back against what he described as news that is fake.
Twitter, in a statement explaining its latest move, claimed that Trump’s tweet “violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.”
“We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance,” it added.