Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images; Drew Angerer / Getty Images
As the Trump administration ratchets up the pressure on big technology, President Donald Trump said he expects that Twitter will strike back.
Trump sounded off about Twitter in the course of an interview Friday with Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist.
That led to Domenech asking the president if he expects Twitter will follow up by placing a ban on his personal Twitter account.
“Yes, I do,” the president replied.
Trump said he expects the ax will fall this autumn, as the presidential election nears.
“Some people say I should join Parler,” Trump said, referring to the platform that touts itself as “an unbiased social media focused on real user experiences and engagement.”
“Maybe. We do have over 194 million followers, though, across multiple sites,” the president added.
John Daniel Davidson, political editor for The Federalist, expressed similar sentiments regarding Twitter in an Op-Ed published on the site.
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“Twitter’s criteria for what’s misleading, abusive, or harassing, or what ‘glorifies violence,’ is entirely one-sided and almost always enforced against conservatives and Republicans but never against leftists or Democrats. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Twitter to ban videos of rioters beating up passersby and torching storefronts, or Democrats lying, or left-wing accounts abusing copyrights. It’s not going to happen,” he wrote Thursday.
“On the other hand, you can be sure that before we get too much closer to the November election, Twitter will drop any pretense about being a neutral platform and ban Trump outright.”
In the interview with Domenech, Trump contrasted Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook to Twitter, saying Facebook was less biased.
He also predicted that if Twitter bans him, “I expect it will hurt them more than they realize.”
The Trump administration has been looking closely at America’s giant technology companies, with various reports indicating that Attorney General William Barr is considering a possible antitrust lawsuit against Google.
Trump said reform of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides some lawsuit protection for big technology companies, could be necessary.
However, he said that reform cannot amount to government smothering the tech giants.
“Section 230 is a double-edged sword,” Trump said, but “would be a much bigger problem for these companies than even just breaking them up … because you would have to be fighting lawsuits all the time. And believe me, I know a little about that.”
“But I want these companies to be successful, and to be based here in America because if you go too far, they end up looking at what is being offered by China instead,” he added.
“And I don’t want that.”
Trump also noted that his Republican allies “need to be stronger” in defending statues and monuments targeted by rioters.
“They’ve got to get much tougher,” he said.
“They have to be stronger, have to come together,” Trump added, or find themselves losing political ground.
“Republicans need to be fighting,” the president said, arguing that radicals who have hijacked the protest movement that began after the death of George Floyd are not seeking just equality.
“You see their leaders on TV saying ‘give us what we want, or we’ll burn down this system and replace it,’” he added.
“That’s almost terrorism.”
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