On Tuesday, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, demanding that Twitter suspend President Donald Trump’s account on the platform.
“In recent days, President Trump published the following tweets from his Twitter account to target, harass, and attempt to out the whistleblower who set forth credible allegations that the President has abused his power by urging a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival,” Harris wrote in the letter.
Harris was referring to the whistleblower who spoke with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, before submitting the complaint. The whistleblower, who remains anonymous, complained about the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked Zelensky to help investigate corruption regarding former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter. That call became the center of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
Harris drew attention to Trump’s tweets saying the whistleblower “isn’t a Whistleblower at all” but rather “a leaker or a spy,” or perhaps a “partisan operative.”
Sounding more and more like the so-called Whistleblower isn’t a Whistleblower at all. In addition, all second hand information that proved to be so inaccurate that there may not have even been somebody else, a leaker or spy, feeding it to him or her? A partisan operative?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2019
Harris also pointed to Trump’s claim that “Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called ‘Whistleblower,’ represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way.”
Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called “Whistleblower,” represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way. Then Schiff made up what I actually said by lying to Congress……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 29, 2019
She went on to note that Trump attacked Schiff for making up fake quotes supposedly from the transcript of the July 25 call and reading them on national television. Trump went too far in suggesting Schiff’s fake quotes might constitute treason. Coming from the president of the United States, this is a serious charge.
Harris also drew attention to the president’s tweet quoting Pastor Robert Jeffress, warning that if Democrats removed Trump from office, it would cause a “Civil War like fracture.”
….If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
“These are blatant threats. We need a civil society, not a civil war,” Harris wrote. “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.”
The senator quoted Twitter’s user agreement, which states that users “may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so.” She also noted that the user agreement considers abusive behavior “an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice,” and prohibits “the glorification of violence.”
“Trump’s tweets about the whistleblower represent a clear intent to harass, intimidate, or silence their voice. His blatant threats put people at risk — and our democracy in danger. His account must be suspended,” Harris tweeted.
Trump's tweets about the whistleblower represent a clear intent to harass, intimidate, or silence their voice. His blatant threats put people at risk — and our democracy in danger. His account must be suspended.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 2, 2019
It seems Dorsey has ignored her complaint, as well he should. Trump did not glorify violence; he merely shared a message from Jeffress warning of a “Civil War like fracture.” This kind of rhetoric is arguably unbefitting a president, but warning against a civil war-like fracture is not the same thing as glorifying violence. Similarly, suggesting the whistleblower is a spy is a far cry from advocating violence against him or her.
While whistleblowers should be able to file anonymous complaints, when an anonymous complaint becomes the basis for an impeachment inquiry, and when that whistleblower seems to have been working with Democrats before filing the complaint, Trump has a point about the right to face his accuser.
Kamala Harris’s letter is little more than political posturing. Her posturing is particularly rich, given the way she used government power as California’s attorney general to silence David Daleiden, the “whistleblower,” if you will, behind the sting videos revealing Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in baby body parts.
If Dorsey were to grant Harris’s request and redefine political attacks as harassment, would he consider Trump’s complaints about “presidential harassment” grounds to suspend the accounts of Democrats?
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.