By Larry Elder
Twitter explained why it decided to permanently ban President Donald Trump: “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them—specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter—we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Trump gave a long, raucous speech, in which he claimed election fraud, in front of supporters an hour before a mob stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6. This siege took place during a joint session of Congress. After the violent disruption, former Vice President Joe Biden was officially certified the winner.
Trump said: “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. Today, we will see whether Republicans stand strong for integrity of our elections, but whether or not they stand strong for our country, our country.”
Democrats launched impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump again because of his pre-Capitol building siege speech.
George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley, a Democrat, wrote: “Like others, I condemned those remarks as he gave them, calling them reckless and wrong. I also opposed the challenges to electoral votes in Congress. But his address does not meet the definition for incitement under the criminal code. It would be viewed as protected speech by the Supreme Court.” Similarly, Democrat professor Alan Dershowitz wrote: “Nothing the president said constituted unprotected ‘incitement,’ as narrowly defined by the Supreme Court over nearly a century of decisions. His volatile words plainly fell on the side of political ‘advocacy,’ which is protected speech.”
How far does Twitter intend to take its policy designed to discourage “risk of further incitement of violence”? For four years, Hillary Clinton, the failed 2016 presidential candidate, has called the 2016 election “stolen” while frequently describing Trump’s election as “illegitimate,” solely the result of Russian interference. “I believe he understands that the many varying tactics they used,” said Clinton in 2019, “from voter suppression and voter purging to hacking to the false stories—he knows that—there were just a bunch of different reasons why the election turned out like it did.”
Similarly, in 2019, former President Jimmy Carter said: “There’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election, and I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated, would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election, and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”
Indeed, according to an August 2018 Gallup poll: “Democrats widely believe Russians interfered in the 2016 campaign and that it changed the outcome of the election (78% say this), presumably by helping Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.” Never mind that Jeh Johnson, Barack Obama’s former secretary of Homeland Security, said in his June 2017 testimony before a congressional committee: “To my current knowledge, the Russian government did not through any cyber intrusion alter ballots, ballot counts or reporting of election results.” Yet, Hillary faces no ban from Twitter, despite promoting a dangerous, divisive 2016 election narrative not supported by the U.S. intelligence community.
In 2012, then-Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., stood on the floor of the Senate and knowingly, falsely accused Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of not paying taxes. Reid later, out of office, bragged that he knowingly told this “rich don’t pay taxes” lie to damage Romney’s candidacy. It worked. Reid remains active on Twitter.
Ron Fournier, the former Washington, D.C. Associated Press bureau chief, in 2015, publicly said President “George W. Bush lied us into war in Iraq.” True, the bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission found the intel leading up to the Iraq war “dead wrong.” But co-chair Laurence Silberman said: “It is one thing to assert, then or now, that the Iraq war was ill-advised. It is quite another to make the horrendous charge that President Bush lied to or deceived the American people about the threat from Saddam.” Fournier remains active on Twitter.
For four years, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Jimmy Carter referred to President Trump as illegitimately elected. Risk of violence, Twitter? Reid likely altered the outcome of the 2012 election with his Senate lie about Romney and his taxes. Risk of violence, Twitter? And “reporters” like Fournier insisted that former President George W. Bush sent men and women to face death and injury over a deliberate “lie.” Risk of violence, Twitter?
Larry Elder is an American libertarian talk radio host, author, and attorney who hosts “The Larry Elder Show.” He is also a columnist with Creators Syndicate. Larry can be reached via Instagram at instagram.com/larryeldershow/ and can be found on Twitter at @larryelder. See also www.LarryElder.com.