Now is the time to disable Trump's Twitter account
Update: Twitter has announced it is requiring Trump to remove three posts that it says are in violation of its Civic Integrity Policy. The president's account will be "locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets," the company said. "If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked."
On the day that Congress is supposed to certify Joe Biden as president-elect, all hell broke loose. Following the so-called "Save America Rally" held in front of the White House, Trump supporters who gathered to back the soon-to-be out of office president stormed the Capitol building. There, they engaged in stand offs with police and made their way onto the Senate floor, forcing an evacuation of the building.
That outcome was predictable. After all, those supporters had just spent an hour listening to the man they voted for rail against anyone who failed to sufficiently throw their support behind his coup attempt. And for months before this morning's speech the president and his lackeys have sought to undermine confidence in the election and encourage resistance from his supporters.
On Wednesday, as those efforts at fomenting violent insurrection materialized inside the Capitol, Trump rolled out a limp, impotent attempt to quell the shitstorm that he created. The president tweeted out messages calling for his violent backers to "stay peaceful," which implies they were peaceful in the first place. They certainly weren't being peaceful by the time Trump finally decided to address their actions.
In one tweet, he asked his supporters to "support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement," stating, "They are truly on the side of our Country." In a follow up message, he tried to call upon one of his rallying cries: "Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue." But those messages seemed to go entirely unheeded, as hundreds of people adorned in Trump attire and draped in Confederate flags continued to push their way into the Capitol, breaking windows, damaging property, and invading offices.
Trump's half-assed attempt to walk back what he created fell short because those very same supporters had spent months consuming the President's bullshit claims that the election was rigged from the start. His backers hang on his every word and have more loyalty to him than they do to party or country, and they saw him claim that the election that he lost handily was actually stolen from him. On dozens of occasions, Trump encouraged his supporters to "fight." He sent out multiple messages alleging that the election was corrupt. He claimed that "we have no country," that Biden is a "Fake President," and that the results of the election and recount efforts were "fraudulent."
Trump said the right words too late and said the wrong words too loud and too frequently for anyone to miss the message. Well, anyone but Twitter, apparently. The company has slapped a "disputed" label on several of Trump's tweets in which he claims to have won the election. But it has been unable to stop the growing resentment and violent sentiments that the president's ongoing attempts to undermine our elections has clearly provoked.
Mic reached out to Twitter to ask if the company intends to take any action against Trump's account aside from placing warning labels on his tweets, but had not received a response at the time of publication.
To be clear, Trump has incited this chaos. And while Twitter has managed to correctly assess that the president's tweets pose a risk of violence and have labeled some as such, it's clear that Trump will not stop tweeting or tone down his rhetoric. Even in a video in which he calls for his supporters to stand down and go home, he claims the election "was stolen from us."
Trump won't stop tweeting this way. Twitter knows this, and it knows that his tweets inspire violence. We know that the company knows this because it has previously suspended an account that simply parrots Trump's tweets, and happened to suspend that account for violating the rules for glorifying acts of violence. Twitter has held that once Trump leaves office, he will no longer enjoy the protection given to politicians, who are often immune to being banned for breaking the rules. But it's clear that action can't wait. Twitter should ban Trump's account now before things get even worse than they did today.