2020 Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris of California sent an open letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey demanding the social media executive suspend President Donald Trump from the platform.
Look let's be honest, @realDonaldTrump's Twitter account should be suspended.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 1, 2019
In the letter sent to the CEO Tuesday, Harris argues Trump violated Twitter’s rules in six tweets sent out Friday, which she says incite threats of violence, particularly to those who supplied information to an anonymous whistleblower whose complaint has prompted calls for impeachment. The letter also cited Trump’s tweet quoting a Fox News regular speculating about the possibility of a civil war-like division if Trump were to be forcibly removed from office.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 2, 2019
“Twitter’s user agreement specifically states that users ‘may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so,’ which includes ‘violence against an individual or a group of people,’” Harris wrote to Dorsey. “Furthermore, the agreement states that the platform considers abusive behavior as ‘an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice,’ and that it prohibits the ‘glorification of violence.’”
As the Washington Post points out, however, Twitter’s policies protect Trump from facing suspension over the tweets even if they were as incendiary as the senator claims.
Twitter offers exemptions to its rules for “military or government entities,” which includes the nation’s commander in chief. The website also considers “newsworthiness” as a factor in determining whether such posts violate its rules and warrant their removal. In addition, the rules themselves are vague enough for the company to exercise a varying degree of discretion when deciding which posts to take down and which posts to allow.
Harris’ demands that Dorsey block the president’s Twitter account, however, illustrate a growing problem of the left wherein the solution to political discourse is simply to shut down the voices of political opposition.
Harris’ call to suspend Trump on Twitter should come as no surprise to any recent or current college student on liberal campuses across the country who have seen this tactic of the left firsthand. Just this week, liberal activists at the George Washington University protested an event hosted by the school’s Young America’s Foundation chapter featuring the Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles. Just 10 minutes into Knowles’ lecture, several students stood up and shouted “F-ck you, you f-cking fascist.” As Knowles asked the protesters what exactly they disagreed with, the interrupting students simply continued shouting while being escorted out of the room.
But at least Knowles got to speak. Other conservative lecturers are routinely met with fierce opposition from university staff and students who can’t seem to bear even allowing high-profile conservatives to step foot on campus. As left-wing activists continue to graduate from their protected ideological “safe-spaces,” their tactics are surely becoming mainstream, now even being adopted by major presidential candidates.
Harris’ plea to block Trump’s Twitter sends a dangerous signal to young activists, validating the left’s strategy of winning debate by simply removing another’s microphone.
Democratic White House rival Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii pushed back on Harris’ authoritarian online crusade.
When asked whether she agreed with Harris that Trump’s Twitter should be suspended, Gabbard said “no” and defended free speech.
“No. I think freedom of speech is something that is an important, foundational right in our democracy,” Gabbard said. “We can’t just cancel or shut down or silence those who we disagree with or who hold different views.”
Asked if she agrees with @KamalaHarris that President @realDonaldTrump's Twitter account should be suspended, @TulsiGabbard says, "No. I think freedom of speech is something that is an important, foundational, right in our democracy." pic.twitter.com/6o1DYNVRFK
— Julia Jester (@JulesJester) October 2, 2019
Harris’ crusade illustrates a growing intolerance of many on the left who would rather shut down free speech than engage in a civil dialogue.