Utah Sen. Mike Lee was suspended from Twitter on Wednesday after the GOP lawmaker shared a Federalist article critical of President Joe Biden’s foreign policy. The article, written by Federalist Senior Editor David Harsanyi, condemns the false binary presented by proponents of the administration’s approach to the war in Ukraine as either pro-Volodymyr Zelensky or pro-Vladimir Putin.
“It’s not exactly a sign of a healthy democratic discourse that it’s virtually impossible to ask a critical question about the United States’ role in the Ukraine-Russia conflict without being smeared as a Putin apologist or an ‘isolationist,'” Harsanyi wrote in his opening line.
Lee shared the article with the passage Wednesday afternoon on his personal Twitter page, “@BasedMikeLee.”
It’s unclear whether Lee’s post from The Federalist provoked the censorship. The senior Utah senator wrote in a follow-up tweet that the company has still not offered an explanation after the suspension was lifted.
Twitter’s new CEO, Elon Musk, took over the company last fall with a $44 billion deal spent on a pledge to restore corporate values of free speech on the platform. Episodes of political censorship have remained routine, however, four months after acquisition.
In February, Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), was suspended on the platform after sharing a harmless hunting photo.
“You may not include graphic violence or adult content in your profile photo or profile header image,” read a warning from the company. “We consider graphic violence to be any form of gory media related to death, serious injury, violence, or surgical procedures. We consider adult content to be any media that is pornographic and/or may be intended to cause sexual arousal.”
Federalist Senior Editor John Davidson also remains locked out of his Twitter account for pointing out that President Biden’s transgender-identifying assistant secretary for health, Rachel Levine, is a man. The Babylon Bee, a conservative Christian satire website, was suspended on the platform for the same conduct but saw its penalty promptly lifted after Musk’s purchase.
After Musk took over the company, several independent journalists were given access to internal records, culminating in the “Twitter Files,” which exposed government collusion and censorship-related corporate misconduct. Twitter reportedly ran a comprehensive shadowbanning operation and worked with federal authorities in intelligence agencies to moderate content to the benefit of Democrats.