Kamala Harris Takes Twitter to Task Over Trump Tweets: 'We Need a Civil Society, Not Civil War'

Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

On Tuesday night, as the president tweeted about impeachment efforts—likening an inquiry into his self-made Ukraine scandal to a “coup”—Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) called on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to put a stop to Trump’s increasingly toxic nonsense.

Reaching out to Dorsey via Twitter and with a letter distributed by her presidential campaign, Harris called a series of tweets to Dorsey’s attention, writing that they violated Twitter’s user agreement by publishing “blatant threats” against the whistleblower on the social media platform.

As Harris noted, Trump has also implied an impeachment inquiry—which a plurality of Americans now support, according to a new poll—would provoke violence, and even fanned the flames of his supporters’ rage in his latest tweets.

“As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP,” Trump tweeted. Just days earlier, Trump—quoting evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress—warned that impeachment proceedings could bring on “a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.”

“We need a civil society, not a civil war,” Harris wrote, enumerating a half-dozen tweets, all published in the last week, which appeared to violate Twitter’s prohibition on “targeted harassment” and the “glorification of violence.”

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“These tweets represent a clear intent to baselessly discredit the whistleblower and officials in our government who are following the proper channels to report allegations of presidential impropriety, all while making blatant threats that put people at risk and our democracy in danger,” she added.

Harris then noted that Twitter has previously banned or suspended Infowars host Alex Jones for spreading disinformation and inciting violence, as well as actor James Woods and hedge fund manager and smirking human dumpster fire Martin Shkreli for spreading hateful messages on the platform.

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Echoing what many others on the platform have been saying for years, Harris said she believed the president’s recent tweets “rise to the level that Twitter should consider suspending his account.”

Of course, given Dorsey’s previous actions on Trump’s tweets, nothing is likely to happen. The president wasn’t suspended when he threatened war against North Korea nor when he harassed lawmakers Maxine Waters and Frederica Wilson. He wasn’t suspended when he attacked “the Squad”—a group of freshman representatives comprising Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. Trump’s targeting of Omar has been particularly heinous: earlier this year, he deliberately took her remarks out of context in a video that portrayed her as minimizing the impact of 9/11. Omar reported receiving a barrage of death threats after the president tweeted the video.

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Twitter did nothing, as it typically does with politicians. Instead, it asserts it’s “in the public interest” for users to see those tweets—even if those tweets are actively encouraging discussion of a full-blown civil war.

Twitter told The Verge Wednesday morning it received Harris’ letter and plans to respond to her concerns—which, as many of us know, is corporate-speak for “we’ll run you some bullshit about hearing you, promptly followed by our insistence on doing what the fuck we were going to do anyway.” Good stuff, Jack.

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About the author

Anne Branigin

Staff writer, The Root. Sometimes I blog slow, sometimes I blog quick. Do you have this in coconut?