In 2009, I was invited to participate in a conference at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill on the changes between newspapers and online media outlets. During the conference, we were given accounts on a new media application called Twitter.
Twitter called the application a way to communicate between people in short messages, even on laptops, in places like conferences. It crashed a few times during our attempts to use it and we went back to simply talking to each other to communicate.
But my sign-on remained and when Twitter began to catch on, I began to use it as a way to keep pass on links to news stories and other interesting items I felt others might like to read.
In July 2011, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey moderated a White House “Town Hall” with Barack Obama and Twitter began to grow, reading 100 million users by October.
Donald Trump used his Twitter account to create controversy from the time he joined, using it to promote his campaign to declare Obama a non-American born man who could not legally be president and used it, with other lies, to generate press and support for his longshot attempt to become president of the United States in 2016.
In December 2015, Twitter leaders, upset by Trump’s use of hate-filled posts, discussed what needed to be done to keep him under control. Over the years, his account was suspended or warning that his screeds were spreading “misinformation.”
Twitter has a 140 word count for many years, but increased it to 280 in November of 2018, which gave Trump more room to spread more hate and lies.
Then came the mob of thugs who invaded the U.S. Capitol this week, sacking the home of Congress, attacking and beating a Capitol Police Officer to death and forcing the House and Senate to discontinue its counting and debate of the Electoral College votes that had declared Joe Biden the winner over Trump in the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Trump had urged his followers to “march to the Capitol” and protes. His attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told the crowd that it was time for “combat.”
For a change, a strong bi-partisan feeling of both Republicans and Democrats declared Trump the instigator of the riot that trashed the Capitol and brought violence and death.
Twitter suspended Trump’s account for 24 hours, warning him that he would be barred permanently if his antic continued. He was back on shortly the day after but called the protestors “patriots” and Twitter shut his account down, removed all of his posts, and barred him peramently, along with his campaign account. They also suspended his access to the POTUS presidential account and shut down the accounts of surrogates disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, pardoned recently by Trump.
Twitter said Trump’s tweets “were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021,” Anyone who tries to access his Twitter feed runs into this:
That move wiped out Trump’s direct megaphone to some 88 million followers and the service also disabled his campaign account and blocked his access to the official POTUS account for use by the president of the United States. Twitter said access to that account now goes to Joe Biden.
The moves were a forceful repudiation by Twitter of Mr. Trump, who had used the platform to build his base and spread his messages, which were often filled with falsehoods and threats. Mr. Trump regularly tweeted dozens of times a day, sending flurries of messages in the early morning or late evening. In his posts, he gave his live reactions to television news programs, boosted supporters and attacked his perceived enemies.
“Twitter’s permanent suspension of Trump’s Twitter account is long overdue,” said Shannon McGregor, a senior researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “This is the key de-platforming for Trump. The inability to tweet cuts off his direct access to the press — and, by extension, the public.”
In a statement late Friday, Mr. Trump said Twitter was trying to silence him. He said he was negotiating with other sites and promised a “big announcement soon,” adding that he was looking at building “our own platform.”—New York Times
Facebook and Instagram have suspended Trump’s accounts “indefinitely” and say that suspension will be reviewed after the inauguration on Jan. 20. Most observers feel the suspensions will become permanent.
On Capitol Hill, Trump is facing increased demans that he either resign or face removal from office immediatley through the 25th Amendment, which would require Vice President Pence to obtain approval from the Cabinet and a two-thired majority vote by the House and Senate.
If that doesn’t happen, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer say they are considering an immediate second impeachment of Trump on the grounds he instigated a violent attempt to overthrow the government he swore to uphold.
The calls to Trump’s removal from office are not limited to Democrats.
“I want him out,” says Alaska GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski. “He’s caused enough damage.”
Aides to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says he has not talked to Trump in recent days and has no desire to talk with him, ever again. He also says the Senate could hold an impeachment trial, if requested by the House, after the Jan. 20 inauguration.
GOP Sen. Ben Sasse says he would “definitely consider whatever articles they might move because I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office.”
To CBS News, Sasse added:
He swore an oath to the American people to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution — he acted against that. What he did was wicked.
South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, a strong Trump supporter who has backed away from him and said “enough is enough,” ran into angry supporters of the disgraced president at Reagan National Airport near Washington who called him “traitor” and “liar.”
Taunted one woman: “It’s going to be like this forever, wherever you go, for the rest of your life.”
In 2017, Trump praised Twitter, telling The Financial Times “without the tweets, I wouldn’t be here.” He has repeatedly claimed that “They’ll never ban me.” Now, aides say he is in “an untrollable rage” over being banned.
Twitter is also warning: “Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the U.S. Capitol and state capitol buildings on Jan. 17, 2021.”