One of the key characteristics of Donald Trump’s reign as President is his willingness to jump on Twitter and say whatever the hell he thinks about anything, regardless of whether it’s completely undiplomatic or could potentially cause a war with another country.
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Tied in with this is the fact that if Trump doesn’t like what someone is saying to him, then he’ll just block them on Twitter so he doesn’t have to listen to their opinion anymore and can just rant and rave about stuff in his own echo chamber. Or at least he thought he could do that but he can’t any more as the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the First Amendment forbids Trump from using Twitter’s ‘blocking’ function to silence people who criticise or mock him.
Here’s how Judge Barrington Parker explained the decision:
The First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.
Trump’s account bears all the trappings of an official, state-run account.
The @RealDonaldTrump account is ‘one of the White House’s main vehicles for conducting official business.
Trump and his aides have characterized the president’s tweets as official statements, and even the National Archives considers them official records.
You can’t really argue with this analysis.
What a landmark ruling, but when you think about it it’s pretty mental that something like this even needs to happen in the first place. I guess that’s politics for you in 2019 though – all Twitter accounts and bumbling buffoons shouting nonsense at each other.
Unfortunately I can only see it getting dumber as well, but at least we’ll be able to tweet politicians that we think they’re twats now after this ruling. That’s something at least.
For more Trump, check him out throwing Starbursts at Angela Merkel. Excellent.