On Wednesday, Twitter deleted a Trump campaign video showing President Donald Trump saying that children are “almost immune” from COVID-19, claiming that the president’s claim was “misinformation,” even though children face much less risk for the coronavirus than adults. Facebook had deleted the video earlier on Wednesday. Suspicions of political bias appeared confirmed yet again by a connection between the Twitter staffer who announced the Trump censorship and a former Democratic presidential candidate who may become Joe Biden’s running mate.
Yes, the Twitter staffer who announced the video’s deletion was himself a former press secretary for now-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), one of the two black women who are reportedly on Biden’s vice-presidential short-list.
“The original Tweet from [the Trump campaign] is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation, and we’ve required removal,” Nick Pacilio, a senior communications manager at Twitter, announced in a tweet.
— Nick Pacilio (@NickPacilio) August 5, 2020
Pacilio’s Twitter bio describes him as a “Former [Kamala Harris] press sec.” His LinkedIn page sheds more light on the situation: Pacilio served as Harris’ mouthpiece when she was the California attorney general. He served as her deputy press secretary for nearly three years, and her press secretary for one more.
Twitter can hire whomever it wants. The fact that Nick Pacilio lasted four years with Kamala Harris is impressive, and he may well be an excellent communications professional. But who thought it was a good idea to have a former press secretary for Kamala Harris announce the latest act of censorship against President Trump?
Twitter’s attacks on Trump are nothing new. In May, the social media company slapped an extremely partisan fact check” on a Trump tweet warning against potential fraud in vote-by-mail schemes. Twiter also hid another Trump tweet, claiming it violated the platform’s policies by “glorifying violence.” Twitter executives have also flaunted a disgusting anti-Trump bias.
While platforms like Facebook and Twitter are rightly concerned about dangerous misinformation during a pandemic, Trump did not claim that children are immune — he merely claimed that they are “almost immune.” Perhaps this statement was hyperbolic, but children are indeed at much less risk from the coronavirus than are adults. It appears the decision to delete Trump’s video was motivated by political bias, not public health concerns.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.