Wednesday, October 16, 2019


This was a moment I wasn't expecting in last night's debate:
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) unsuccessfully tried at Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate to win Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) over to her push for Twitter to ban Donald Trump, an issue that is quickly becoming a signature of Harris’ presidential bid.

Harris told Warren that she was “surprised” the Massachusetts senator hadn’t backed her call, issued in early October, for Twitter to ban Trump from its site. In her letter to Twitter, Harris cited Trump’s attacks on the Ukraine phone call whistleblower and his tweet about “civil war” as reasons for Twitter to deplatform the president....

Warren demurred, saying that she was focused on beating Trump in the presidential election.
Harris isn't wrong about the threatening nature of Trump's Twitter feed, but I don't see the point of agitating for a ban when Twitter has said Trump won't be banned. If Trump were deplatformed, it would be regarded on the right as the an act of war, an atrocity worse than 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. I wouldn't want to be a Twitter employee after this happened. Conservatives would go nuts, while moderates and right-centrists on the New York Times op-ed page would be fighting with each other to see who could most self-righteously denounce the ban as liberal "cancel culture" run amok.

Besides, if Trump is banned from Twitter, he'll just find another online outlet for the same content. Even if he's dropped by all the major social media sites, he'll move someplace friendlier, and much of the world will gravitate to whatever site he chooses for the same content, even if it's obscure. (It won't be for long.)

I know that deplatforming has been a successful way to diminish the influence of Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and the like, but Trump, while he may not be as rich as he says he is, is rich enough that he doesn't need to monetize social media the way those guys did. (The presidency, on the other hand...) And Trump doesn't actually need social media to recruit followers -- he's covered by every news organization in the world every day. If he's driven entirely off the Internet, he'll still have the Rose Garden and chopper talk.

And look at today's news. There's this:
President Donald Trump wrote Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan an extraordinary letter warning him not to be "a tough guy" or "a fool" as his forces launched their attack on northern Syria, a White House official confirmed to NBC News.

"Dear Mr. President," the Oct. 9 letter began, "Let's work out a good deal! You don't want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don't want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy — and I will." ...

Trump is apparently proud of the missive — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the president handed out copies of it during a heated meeting with Congressional leaders on Wednesday.
Erdogan clearly ignored the letter and moved in on Syria the next day. This was a written communication that should be profoundly embarrassing to Trump.

And then there's that meeting:
President Donald Trump invited Democratic Party leaders to the White House on Wednesday and proceeded to have what those leaders described as a “meltdown” in front of them. Before the lawmakers left early, Trump managed to rail against communists, his own former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and House speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom he called “a third-rate politician,” according to the Democratic leaders and sources’ descriptions of the meeting.

... Schumer at one point pulled out a piece of paper featuring quotes from Mattis’ interview on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. The Democratic leader began reading to the president the statement that Mattis made on that Sunday show, that “if we don't keep the pressure on, then ISIS will resurge. It's absolutely a given that they will come back.”

Trump, this source said, then interrupted Schumer, and insisted that Mattis was “the world’s most overrated general.”

So Trump doesn't need Twitter in order to say obnoxious, threatening, and/or embarrassing things. He does that in multiple forums, in public and in private. Throwing him off Twitter wouldn't slow him down a bit.

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