Donald Trump’s Own Ego Is More Important To Him Than Your Constitutional Rights
At this point, it’s been pretty well established that “President” Donald Trump is an insufferable man-child, with pasty orange skin so unbelievably thin that it’s quite frankly astonishing we can’t see his Neanderthalic bone structure shifting about when he walks. That thin skin does explain why he keeps that goofy hairdo of his and why he’s so keen on baseball hats, though: it helps protect his brain from sunburn.
Knowing this, it should come as a surprise to literally no one that Donald Trump, our Narcissist-In-Chief, blocks people on social media who criticize or question him. Having the audacity to directly disagree with “The Donald” on Twitter will likely result in Trump blocking you forever, a fact learned by an untold number of Americans who’ve directly, unflinchingly told him precisely what they think of him.
There’s just one problem with Trump’s callous dismissal of his online critics: now that he’s in the White House, that pettiness is actually a violation of the constitutional rights of those Twitter users he blocks, or so claims a lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday.
The lawsuit, filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, claims Donald Trump has violated the constitutional rights of those American citizens he has blocked from his Twitter account, noting that his use of Twitter amounts to a public town hall where all Americans are supposed to have access to what is said by the President of the United States.
“President Trump’s Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, has become an important source of news and information about the government, and an important public forum for speech by, to, and about the President. In an effort to suppress dissent in this forum, Defendants have excluded—“blocked”—Twitter users who have criticized the President or his policies. This practice is unconstitutional, and this suit seeks to end it.”
Donald Trump’s Twitter Account Isn’t As Private As He Thinks It Is
Trump supporters, as well as some lawyers, argue that Donald Trump’s Twitter account is private, and therefore he can use it however he likes. But the strongest and most compelling arguments in favor of the lawsuit come directly from none other than Donald Trump himself, as well as his administration.
My use of social media is not Presidential – it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2017
Back in June, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated plainly that Donald Trump considers his tweets to be official statements on behalf of the President and his office. That means Trump himself considers his Twitter account to be an official tool used by his office, which in turns means that blocking users from communicating directly with him via social media, or hindering their ability to see his tweets, is a pretty straightforward violation of the first amendment rights of those Twitter users Trump blocks.
The lawsuit goes on to explain that social media has become a very powerful tool for connecting constituents with their elected officials and vice versa, and that the United States Supreme Court has already pointed this out as a fact.
“As the Supreme Court recognized just a few weeks ago, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide ‘perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard.’ These platforms have been ‘revolution[ary],’ not least because they have transformed civic engagement by allowing elected officials to communicate instantaneously and directly with their constituents. ‘Governors in all 50 States and almost every Member of Congress have set up [Twitter] accounts for this purpose,’ allowing citizens to ‘petition their elected representatives and otherwise engage with them in a direct manner.’ Twitter enables ordinary citizens to speak directly to public officials and to listen to and debate others about public issues, in much the same way they could if they were gathered on a sidewalk or in a public park, or at a city council meeting or town hall.”
Donald Trump is an egomaniacal bully. I doubt even his fiercest, staunchest supporters would argue against that with a straight face. But how anyone could support Trump knowing that he considers his personal feelings to be more important than their constitutional rights is anyone’s guess.
It seems to me Trump has only three options to get away from this lawsuit. He could resign from office and continue using his Twitter account as a private citizen. He could delete his Twitter account and never use social media again. Or he could cave and unblock all those Twitter users he so flagrantly and callously blocked prior. I’d give you some number of guesses as to which option a majority of Americans would want to choose if they could, but I’m pretty sure you’d only need one.
Featured image courtesy of Sean Gallup/ Getty Images
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