If there's one thing Donald Trump loves, it's Donald Trump. But if there's another thing Donald Trump loves, it's threatening lawsuits because, he likes to claim, someone has been super-duper mean to him.
On Wednesday morning, flanked by a cadre of former administration aides and sycophants outside his Bedminster, New Jersey, estate, Trump announced a class-action lawsuit against Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai, and Twitter's Jack Dorsey, the social media titans who belatedly barred the former president from their platforms in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt.
"It will be a pivotal battle in the defense of the First Amendment," Trump declared, explaining that the suit would request an immediate injunction over alleged "shadow banning" and other supposed restrictions placed on conservative platform users. The suit would also request punitive damages from the platforms' CEOs.
"This will, I think, go down as one of the biggest class-actions ever filed," Trump mused at one point.
Trump's rambling remarks were less a straightforward announcement than they were his usual slate of complaints, rife with asides and random observations including that George Washington will "be canceled," that Democrats are "the greatest group of disinformation people ever in the world," and that his suit is being spearheaded by "a lot of the tobacco lawyers."
In an extended tangent, Trump recycled some of his classic complaints about the (still-ongoing) coronavirus pandemic, baselessly blaming China for deliberately engineering the virus and repeating his endorsements for unfounded cures for the disease, such as hydroxychloroquine.
The suit is backed by the America First Police Institute, a far-right think tank founded by longtime Trump associates, including former high-ranking administration officials like Linda McMahon and Larry Kudlow. In a statement released during Trump's remarks, the group proclaimed that the suit "was not the end" but "the beginning" of a larger effort to punish social media "elites" for their supposed repression of conservative opinions.
It's unclear whether the lawsuit will actually progress beyond the initial filing and this bombastic press conference. But should it proceed, it's likely that Trump himself will have to testify and turn over documents about all sorts of potentially incriminating behavior regarding his initial response to the coronavirus pandemic and the Jan. 6 insurrection — two of the major reasons his accounts were removed from Facebook and Twitter. With that in mind, it's entirely possible that Trump's latest lawsuit will join his many other abortive declarations of legal retribution against his alleged enemies in being more trouble than they're really worth.