Trump says Twitter meddling with polls, threatens to stop it after company fact-checks mail-in voting tweets
Twitter is President Donald Trump’s favorite medium for communication. Since he has a sour relation with the mainstream media, the president loves to connect with his supporters more through the micro-blogging site and often comes up with his policy announcements and political statements on the forum. But now it seems his rapport with the social media platform is set to take a blow. On Tuesday, May 26, Trump took to Twitter to accuse the latter’s decision to label some of his posts as “misleading” and even accused it of “stifling free speech”. Alleging that Twitter is interfering in the 2020 presidential election after it started fact-checking his tweets, Trump went on to threaten that as the president, he wouldn’t allow the company to continue.
Trump’s outburst was seen after Twitter fact-checked him earlier on May 26 for suggesting that California’s mail-in balloting initiative would lead to large-scale voter fraud in the November 3 general election. The president has been critical of the mail-in voting idea which is being promoted in the times of the Covid-19 pandemic as he inches closer to a nervous re-election bid. The Trump administration has come under heavy criticism for its response to the pandemic that has claimed almost 100,000 lives.
“@Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post,” Trump tweeted. “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” he added.
Trump lashes out at mail-in voting again
Trump also slammed the mail-in ballots on Twitter, saying: “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mailboxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.”
He even suspected that anybody, even non-citizens, could get the ballots. “The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one,” he further tweeted, adding: “That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote.” He then concluded his Twitter tirade saying: “This will be a Rigged Election", something he has been saying repeatedly. By May 26 afternoon, the social media giant labeled Trump’s tweets with a blue exclamation mark, asking the users to ‘get the facts about mail-in ballots’. Another Twitter page called his tweets “unsubstantiated”, as per fact-checkers from mainstream news outlets like CNN, Washington Post and others.
Twitter recently faced criticism for not deleting Trump’s controversial tweets about TV journalist Joe Scarborough in which he floated a conspiracy theory that the former GOP Congressman killed Lori Klausutis, a former woman staffer, in 2001. The staffer’s widower urged Twitter to delete Trump’s tweets but although it said it was sorry that the statements were causing pain to the Klausutis family and said it was expanding its products and policies to address such tweets in the future. Twitter’s fact-checking move came the same day after it refused to delete the controversial tweets made on Scarborough.
Trump campaign slams Twitter
Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale also slammed the the site saying they always knew that it would create an obstacle for Trump. In a statement, he said: “We always knew that Silicon Valley would pull out all the stops to obstruct and interfere with President Trump getting his message through to voters. Partnering with the biased fake news media “fact checkers” is only a smoke screen Twitter is using to try to lend their obvious political tactics some false credibility. There are many reasons the Trump campaign pulled all our advertising from Twitter months ago, and their clear political bias is one of them.”
The GOP will be worried if there is more voter turnout in the November election as that could see more young voters, leaning towards opposition Democrats but reluctant to go out, casting ballots. The blue state of California is the first to commit to sending mail-in ballots to all registered voters after the pandemic outbreak. Michigan has also taken an initiative to face Trump’s threat to hold back federal funds.
“Democrats continue to use this pandemic as a ploy to implement their partisan election agenda, and Governor Newsom's executive order is the latest direct assault on the integrity of our elections,” Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement targeting California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Reuters report said. The RNC has seconded Trump to say voting by mail creates an opportunity for fraud.
Trump made same claims on Facebook about vote-by-mail, which however has not been fact-checked so far, Axios reported. A Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed's Alex Kantrowitz: "We believe that people should be able to have a robust debate about the electoral process, which is why we have crafted our policies to focus on misrepresentations that would interfere with the vote."