The Washington Post reports: Can a president be suspended from Twitter for threatening to attack another country?
That’s what some Twitter users, including actor and former Barack Obama aide Kal Penn, are demanding, after President Trump tweeted Friday morning that U.S. “military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.”
Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2017
Twitter isn’t going to ban Trump primarily because Trump is good for business and Twitter remains “a company with no evident path to profitability.” Moreover, the company would inevitably be accused of playing politics and face a backlash from Trump supporters and defenders of free speech.
Nevertheless, Trump should be banned from Twitter either by court order or by Congress for multiple reasons.
The presence of a small blue check icon next to @realDonaldTrump hardly suffices as verification that these are indeed statements issued by the President of the United States.
Suppose North Korean hackers hijack Trump’s Twitter account. It’s not difficult to imagine the pandemonium they might unleash as, let’s say, they announced that the U.S. was now under nuclear attack. A genuine national security crisis might ensue before it was established that the triggering tweets were faked.
As president, Trump has the power to make live addresses to the nation that will be broadcast on all major television networks. The notion that the inability to tweet would inhibit his powers of free expression is absurd.
Trump tweets mostly as a troll, which is to say, someone who refuses to be held fully accountable for their own words.
As a man who struggles to accept accountability for his own words even when he’s standing in front of cameras and throngs of journalists, Trump should not be able to indulge in exercising even less accountability by speaking through Twitter.