The move comes days after the platform locked Trump out of his account for the first time this week. The social media company deemed a number of tweets connected to the unrest and violent protests at the Capitol on Wednesday as inflammatory.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the company wrote in a blog post.
The president’s account was suspended Wednesday night after he posted a video with a message for protesters who stormed the Capitol. After violence that led to multiple deaths, Trump told them to “go home,” but maintained that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him.
Twitter removed the president’s video before suspending his account and warning that further violations of the platform’s policies could result in a “permanent suspension.”
Sharing two tweets from the president Friday, including one in which he said he would not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, the company argued that they had to be viewed in part of a greater context.
The other read: “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
“The mention of his supporters having a ‘GIANT VOICE long into the future’ and that ‘They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!’ is being interpreted as further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an ‘orderly transition’ and instead that he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election,” Twitter stated.
The blog post claimed that plans for future armed protests over the election results already were being shared both on and off the platform — “including a proposed secondary attack” on Capitol Hill.
“These two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks,” the company said. “After assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service.”
Jason Miller, a senior advisor to Trump’s 2020 campaign, called the move “disgusting.”
“Big Tech wants to cancel all 75M @realDonaldTrump supporters,” he wrote on the platform. “If you don’t think they’re coming for you next, you’re wrong.”
For years, the president has used Twitter to communicate directly to the American people — bypassing the media and other gatekeepers of information.
But some of his more fiery tweets have drawn criticism, sometimes from his own party. And Twitter confirmed in early December that special privileges granted to world leaders are rescinded once they leave office. The platform has a public interest exemption for prominent figures whose words are newsworthy and important for their citizens to read, even if they violate the rules.
Trump’s personal Twitter account had more than 88 million followers as of last month. Amid the 2020 presidential election, Twitter began attaching “fact-checking” warnings to some of Trump’s tweets. Messages containing unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud garnered warning tags that read, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”
Facebook also permanently blocked Trump on Thursday night.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement Thursday. “Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”
White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere slammed the company at the time.
“It is indisputable that nobody has been more successful at using digital media than President Trump to communicate directly with the American people, but it’s incredibly ironic, yet not surprising, that when the President spoke to the country at a critical time Big Tech chose to censor and block him from doing so,” Deere told Fox News. “Big Tech is out of control.”
The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on his permanent Twitter suspension.
Twitter’s longstanding policy is to ban accounts that promote violent extremism, share personal information of others in order to harass them (also known as doxing), or engage in abusive behavior or operating fake accounts, among other violations. The company argued Friday that Trump’s most recent tweets risked inspiring people to “replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021.”
And after Wednesday’s rioting on Capitol Hill, the company appeared ready to take more drastic action.
“The use of the words ‘American Patriots’ to describe some of his supporters is also being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol,” Twitter said.
Earlier in the day, Twitter also permanently banned Trump allies Michael Flynn and the attorney Sidney Powell for “harmful activity” on the platform.
The official @POTUS handle, which does not appear to have shared any tweets since late December, will be transferred to Biden after Inauguration Day.