LOS ANGELES – The permanent suspension of President Donald Trump‘s Twitter account, following rioting by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol, should have taken place long ago, a USC professor said Friday.
“It’s about time,” said Manuel Pastor, director of the USC Equity Research Institute and a professor of sociology at the university. “For the last four years it’s been a problem, especially since the election. A percentage of his tweets had to be stamped with a notification that the messages were misleading, and while Twitter had its reasons for saying that his tweets that were not true were (still) newsworthy, the extent of the lying and the fanning of flames has been truly dangerous.
“So it’s not a surprise,” Pastor said. “It should have happened a while ago — much like the widespread revulsion against Trump.”
Twitter announced that Trump’s account was permanently suspended “due to the risk of further incitement for violence” on Friday afternoon, two days after his inflammatory tweets were blamed for inciting a violent siege of the Capitol that left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.
The suspension comes a day after Trump was barred from using Facebook for the remainder of his term. Also Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that the House would move to impeach Trump next week over his role in inciting the violent mob attack if he did not resign “immediately.”
“The morning he was elected, I came to work and was asked by staff for some words of context and history, and I said, ‘Well, I think it’s going to get worse than you think.’ And I’ve been proved quite right,” Pastor said. “There is nothing about what took place Wednesday that was not predictable.”
Pastor said that “a person that is reckless enough to be banned from Twitter should not have the nuclear codes — or other presidential powers. So there is a legitimate desire for Trump to be out of power quickly.”
Impeachment would reflect “legitimate concerns with Trump remaining in power — and a desire to state for the record that his behavior was not appropriate for someone who holds that office,” the professor said. Such a move may not be advantageous for Democrats, Pastor said, because “it could inflame moderates and their Republican base. But I don’t think it’s being done for political advantage. There are legitimate concerns.”
Trump released a statement Friday evening that was quickly removed from his Twitter page but later disseminated to the White House press pool, in which he blasted the platform, saying it “is not about free speech. They are all about promoting a Radical Left platform where some of the most vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely,” he said.
“As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me — and YOU, the 75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me,” he said. “Twitter may be a private company, but without the government’s gift of Section 230 they would not exist for long. I predicted this would happen. We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future. We will not be SILENCED!”