President Donald Trump continued his tradition this week of trying to rope everyone imaginable into his political shenanigans. Tuesday afternoon, he held a meeting at the White House with Twitter executives including CEO Jack Dorsey that the president’s team had apparently requested. Details were sparse in the immediate aftermath of the meeting covering what they’d actually talked about for those thirty minutes, but the interactions came under the shadow of Trump’s repeated baseless claims that Twitter is inappropriately handling his account and those of other conservatives.
All Twitter had to say was:
‘Jack had a constructive meeting with the President of the United States today at the president’s request. They discussed Twitter’s commitment to protecting the health of the public conversation ahead of the 2020 election and efforts underway to respond to the opioid crisis.’
It’s not immediately clear what if any connection Twitter actually has to the opioid crisis, although Trump has long held his supposedly great response as a talking point. In reality, his proposals have included backwards moves like executing drug dealers.
Alongside a photo of the group, Trump himself added on his own Twitter profile:
‘Great meeting this afternoon at the White House with Jack from Twitter. Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue!’
The path to the president bringing up the “health of the public conversation” was pretty clear. In the hours before his meeting with Dorsey, he tweeted of the company:
‘They don’t treat me well as a Republican. Very discriminatory, hard for people to sign on. Constantly taking people off list. Big complaints from many people.’
It’s unclear what he’s talking about. Does he mean it’s hard for people to sign in? Maybe they should get a more up-to-date device. Does he mean it’s hard for people to make accounts? Maybe they shouldn’t be a Russian troll. As for the “constantly taking people off list” part, Trump seems to be referring to accounts being stripped from his follower count, and quite simply, to suggest that Twitter taking down spam accounts and sparking such a result is some kind of directed attack on Trump and Republicans is absolutely ridiculous. Still, he complained that follower counts “should be much higher than… if Twitter wasn’t playing their political games.”
Back in October, he whined similarly:
‘Twitter has removed many people from my account and, more importantly, they have seemingly done something that makes it much harder to join – they have stifled growth to a point where it is obvious to all. A few weeks ago it was a Rocket Ship, now it is a Blimp! Total Bias?’
Perhaps during his meeting with Dorsey he printed out these tweets and angrily pointed at them. For an interview in early 2017 Trump brought a few print-outs illustrating the distribution of the votes adding up to his 2016 electoral college victory after all.
The cloud extends both ways over the Tuesday Trump-Twitter meeting. The platform has faced repeated criticism for not working to curb the vitriol that Trump himself spews. They responded by asserting that step “would hide important information people should be able to see and debate” and would “also not silence that leader” to begin with.
Featured Image via screenshot