National Column: Why Twitter shouldn’t ban Trump

by Vinay Menon

It’s hard to imagine what more Donald Trump could do to get kicked off Twitter.

A glance at user policies suggests the U.S. president already violates many of The Twitter Rules that fall under “content boundaries” and “abusive behavior.” The verified account @realDonaldTrump is a veritable clearing house of threats, insults, lies, provocations, slurs, deceptions and wilful distractions.

If you or I stood inside a mall and shouted the things Trump types on Twitter, we’d be escorted out by security faster than you can say “Pocahontas.” If we casually suggested Joe Scarborough once killed someone, as Trump tweeted on Wednesday, we’d get sued. And if we shared videos that were originally posted to inflame anti-Muslim sentiments, we’d lose our jobs, our friends and our moral standing. But Trump operates with one rule: there are no rules.

This is especially true when he is liberated from the shackles of presidential decorum and his
conspiratorial fantasies and thought hate crimes explode on social media. Whether he’s lunging at reality or hacking into an enemy, in Trump’s tiny fingers, Twitter becomes a machete to protect his fragile ego. It is not a communication tool. It is a crude weapon. But let’s get back to the rules he ignores for two more seconds.

“We consider graphic violence to be any form of gory media related to death, serious injury, violence, or surgical procedures,” reads one sentence from The Twitter Rules.

“You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or serious disease,” reads another.

Those are interesting guidelines to ponder after Wednesday, when the so-called leader of the free world retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by the leader of a far right British group, a woman who was previously convicted of religious harassment. The videos were captioned: “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” “Muslim Destroys a Status of Virgin Mary!” and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”

I know we are getting inured to Trump’s madman antics. At this point, his lack of human decency is almost boring. But even by his below-mud standards, promoting hate videos that are devoid of context and of dubious authenticity – one European paper has already declared the Dutch boy video “fake news” – with the White House seal of approval was a real eye opener.

Scratch that. It was like getting your eyes propped open with bleach-soaked toothpicks: Did the
American president just share anti-Muslim propaganda from one of the darkest and fringiest corners of the internet?

Even some of his most fervent defenders were rattled.

“I don’t know what on earth possessed Donald Trump to offer such a stunning, shocking and repulsive endorsement of these racist Muslim-despising scumbags,” wrote longtime friend Piers Morgan in the Daily Mail. “Either he had no idea who these people really are, or he did know and decided they were worthy of his support. The first makes him a bloody fool. The second makes him a bloody disgrace.”

“Yeah, someone might want to tell whoever is running Trump’s Twitter account this morning that retweeting Britain First is not great optics,” tweeted Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at InfoWars, a website that traffics in conspiracy theories.

Let that sink in: InfoWars thinks Trump crossed a line. That’s like O.J. Simpson taking a stand against stabbing.

Once again, it’s demoralizing to realize Trump has access to the greatest intelligence in the world, but is more inclined to feast on diseased garbage and then expel hateful turds like a blind sewer rat. To scroll through any chunk of the 36,5000 tweets he’s posted since 2009 is to be in the company of a racist uncle who is irate after getting accidentally shortchanged at the gas station by a dark-skinned clerk who is, the old man is sure, probably in the country illegally and eager to rape a “real” citizen after his shift ends.

But should Twitter ban Trump, as so many are now demanding?

No. After the shock wears off from this bout of anti-Muslim retweeting, we should be grateful to the company for providing Trump with an unfiltered platform in which his ignorance and explicit support for bigots and lunatics is crystal clear.

Without Twitter, we’d have no way to outline the soul Trump does not have.

Without Twitter, we’d have no way to gauge the depths of his depraved views.

Trump’s bizarre tweets thunder into the news cycle in surround sound. He projects so much, it’s a
miracle Dolby hasn’t certified this presidency. But every so often, amid the constant noise and flash, he inadvertently reveals something that will no doubt come back to haunt him in the future. We’ve already seen this phenomenon on everything from the travel ban to the ongoing Russia investigation.

Trump is hanging himself, one tweet at a time.

If anything, Twitter needs a new rule: this guy should never be banned.
Copyright 2017-Torstar Syndication Services

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