In December 2015 — when people were still surprised by the things that came out of Donald Trump’s mouth — Trump surprised everyone by saying that he wanted to close the internet.
At a rally in South Carolina, Trump told crowds:
‘We have kids that are watching the Internet and they want to be masterminds… they’re young, they’re impressionable, they go over there, and they want to join ISIS.’
‘We’re losing a lot of people because of the Internet and we have to do something. We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them, maybe in certain areas closing that Internet up in some way.’
‘Somebody will say, “oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.” These are foolish people… we’ve got to maybe do something with the Internet because they are recruiting by the thousands, they are leaving our country and then when they come back, we take them back.’
While Trump and his supporters are big proponents of the 2nd Amendment, and will do everything in their power to protect it, this speech is evidence that the 1st Amendment falls lower on their list.
Throughout his campaign, Trump has shown that he has little regard for freedom of speech. He even banned The Washington Post from covering his campaign because he didn’t like the way they talked about him.
Were he to become president, it is highly unlikely that Trump would actually be successful in shutting down the internet. However, the fact that he thinks that that is a productive counter-terrorism tactic is disconcerting, to say the least.
The Daily Kos makes an excellent point about the problem with someone like Trump, who is now the official nominee for the Republican party, making dangerous claims about shutting down the internet.
‘Donald Trump is putting forth his vision. Dismantle our post-war institutions. Discard the idea of globalization and all that comes with it. “Close that Internet up.” I don’t believe he can do that with any more success than any dictator from the past has in trying to stop the oncoming future. Plenty of voters here and abroad agree that we should unlearn everything we learned from the 20th Century. But I do know that if history is any guide, it would be a very ugly start to this new century to let him try.’
This statement, although specifically referring to the internet, could be applied to any number of Trump’s campaign promises. It is unlikely that Trump would actually successfully build a wall around Mexico; however, “it would be a very ugly start to this new century to let him try.”
Watch Trump’s full speech from South Carolina below, courtesy of News Universe via YouTube. The video is queued up to start at the internet comments.
Featured image via Getty.