The nation continues to reel from the unprecedented siege on the United States Capitol earlier this month by pro-Trump extremists who believed the outgoing President's lies that Democrats coordinated widespread election fraud to deliver a false victory to Biden.
For months after the 2020 election was called for Biden, Trump used Twitter and other social media outlets to broadcast false or misleading claims about voting procedures in a number of swing states he lost.
This misinformation campaign led to death threats against local leaders in these states and ultimately congealed into the collective delusion prompting Trump's followers to storm the Capitol in hopes of disrupting congressional certification of Biden's victory.
With at least five people dead as a result of the riots, Trump has since been indefinitely suspended from Facebook and banned from his favorite outlet of all—Twitter—for fear that his apparent inability stop spreading misinformation on the platform would result in even more violence.
The move prompted outcry from Trump's supporters, who claimed that social media outlets were "silencing" the President, falsely accusing these outlets of violating the First Amendment rights of conservatives.
Trump Campaign spokesperson Hogan Gidley propped up this line of thinking in a recent Fox News interview.
New from me: Trump spox Hogan Gidley’s claim in this video, that Trump “can’t say anything” about the U.S. Capitol… https://t.co/bCCG6Tc87n— Bill McCarthy (@Bill McCarthy) 1611000653.0
Gidley claimed Trump's critics were using a double standard, saying:
"On one hand, [Trump] should be censored by Big Tech and not be allowed to talk. He also shouldn't say anything because it's divisive. And then when he doesn't say anything and can't say anything because the platforms have removed him, they say, 'Where's the President?'"
Trump is the President of the United States and at any moment, he can hold a press briefing, issue a statement, or give an interview that will reach the eyes and ears of millions of Americans.
Gidley's claim that Trump doesn't have a platform without social media instantly fell flat.
A history update for @JHoganGidley: We have had presidents continuously since 1789. Facebook was founded in 2004. T… https://t.co/cgC1qafbKy— David Sanger (@David Sanger) 1610911354.0
There's something called the White House briefing room. I realize it's a little dusty from lack of use. https://t.co/B9Vr2OFXJX— Glenn Kessler (@Glenn Kessler) 1610908326.0
The president has chosen not to be seen in public or walk to the briefing room to make a statement https://t.co/Cv6cJZXYRH— Manu Raju (@Manu Raju) 1610908164.0
It’s true. Everyone knows that Presidents aren’t allowed to hold press conferences until their SECOND term in offic… https://t.co/Dw6Ua16Hge— dave karpf (@dave karpf) 1610906349.0
We never had any trouble learning what the President of the United States had to say before social media was create… https://t.co/DKgS2zjuHi— Renato Mariotti (@Renato Mariotti) 1610908660.0
Twitter didn't launch until July 2006 Presidents 1 to 43 somehow figured out how to communicate with the American… https://t.co/99R9qzPun9— Chris Lu (@Chris Lu) 1610907519.0
The assertion promptly generated widespread mockery.
Never forget the famous words of @ realAbeLincoln: "Four score and seven years ago ... 1/25" https://t.co/szCatz24kx— Steve Mullis (@Steve Mullis) 1610908688.0
This is a good point. Lincoln never would have been able to give the Gettysburg Address if the platforms hadn't all… https://t.co/umCPxGlW25— Brian Klaas (@Brian Klaas) 1610905687.0
If it were not for Twitter, FDR would never have been heard https://t.co/Iun1iw0Ky7— Jeff Timmer (@Jeff Timmer) 1610968815.0
Before Trump's term, White House press secretaries held daily press briefings to inform the public of the President's views and actions in regards to developing events. These daily briefings were dispensed with by the second year of Trump's term.