For the past week of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, he pretty much went “dark” on Twitter. His account was still active, but it wasn’t his fingers tapping away over there. Nope, his press team reportedly wrestled the account out of his paws while a stream of completely positive tweets confirmed the rumors. No insults appeared on Trump’s account, but things are changing again. Trump’s evidently received the account back, and he’s using it to criticize the First Amendment’s right to free speech and assembly. Here’s what happened.
Trump is fretting over the “unfair” nature of the nationwide protests that have now followed his election victory for three consecutive nights (with police in Portland, Oregon now describing the unrest as “riots”). Van Jones defended the displays, yet some folks don’t agree with people taking to the streets in this instance. However one feels about the usefulness or divisiveness of such protests, one thing is certain — Trump felt much differently in 2012 when Obama won his reelection bid, and Trump told his Twitter followers to “march on Washington and stop this travesty.”
Sensitive Trump doesn’t enjoy criticism, but he also doesn’t understand that people are granted the right to free speech and assembly. His conclusion and knee-jerk reaction is a somewhat disconcerting one, given that Trump previously vowed to otherwise limit the First Amendment by “open[ing] up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false” stories. “We can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.” He has, on repeated occasions, tweeted about feeling like the media is on a “witch-hunt” against him.
Will Trump try to truly modify the First Amendment once he takes office? Given that he’s already deleted a page detailing his proposed Muslim ban from his website, he’ll likely remain unpredictable. However, folks don’t take their free speech lightly in the U.S., so Trump would do well to deal with it.
And look here, by Friday morning, Trump was tweeting positively about admiring the “passion” of his protesters. Insert thinking-face emoji.