Kentucky Congressmen Andy Barr and Thomas Massie criticized Twitter after the social media giant announced it was permanently banning President Donald Trump’s account.
“I am outraged that an American social media company permanently banned a U.S. President and other conservatives from its platform while the Ayatollah of Iran, the Leader of the Nation of Islam and many officials from the Chinese Communist Party operate freely on their platform,” Barr said in a statement. “Banning conservative Twitter accounts and recent attempts to try and cancel or remove conservative books from Amazon and other online retailers will not bring our country together. Instead, these efforts put us on a path towards implementing the Chinese Communist Party’s social credit system, where access to online platforms, public spaces and much more hinges on expressing the acceptable political views.
“This is totally un-American, and I urge Americans to unify around the Constitution, Bill of Rights and fully embrace the free exchange of ideas that is a bedrock principle of our American Republic.”
Massie reacted in a social media post not long after Barr made his statement Friday night.
“What the hell is happening?” Massie wrote. “Twitter and Facebook are shutting down accounts. Apple and Google are shutting down Parler as people try to migrate there. Are we living out some kind of dystopian novel this week?”
Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reacted to the ban on Twitter himself. He said while @realDonaldTrump was banned it continues to allow Iran’s supreme leader “and numerous other dictatorial regimes” to use the platform.
“Mao would be proud,” Trump Jr. wrote.
Trump, the 45th president, began his @realDonaldTrump account on May 4, 2009, a tweet that promoted his appearance on David Letterman’s late-night show. He used it as a communication tool to more than 82 million throughout his presidency. Trump tweeted more than 57,000 times. The most popular tweet came on Oct. 2, 2020 when @realDonaldTrump announced that Trump and first lady Melanie Trump had contracted the coronavirus. That post received 1.8 million likes and nearly 400,000 retweets, according to Factba.se, which tracks the president’s social media habits.
The account was silenced Friday when Twitter announced it was pulling the plug on @realDonaldTrump because of concerns that it would be used for “further incitement of violence” following what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday when mobs rushed the building.
Trump’s reaction to the account being banned was that he’d be “building our own platform in the near future. We will not be SILENCED!”
Trump tweeted on Friday before his account was taken down that “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
Soon after, he also tweeted: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”