Trump: A Twitter Bully Who Can't Take the Heat

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A federal judge ruled in May that President Trump cannot block anyone on Twitter, calling it a violation of the First Amendment since his feed is an official government account. 

However, Trump has yet to unblock the scores of citizens — ranging from model Chrissy Teigen to novelist Stephen King to nonprofit VoteVets — from his @realdonaldtrump account. 

 

"The only people I know he unblocked was the seven in the lawsuit," Brandon Neely, one of the users who sued Trump for blocking him, told The Advocate. "If he believed in the rule of law, he would unblock everyone and stop denying them their First Amendment right, but as we know Trump believes he’s above the law — he has the same mentality as a thug."

The lawsuit — which was filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University on behalf of seven Twitter users — very notably called Trump's Twitter feed a "public forum."

"Trump hasn't unblocked me yet," said Dana Goldberg, a lesbian comedian and host of The Advocate's Out in Left Field. Goldberg's been banned from Trump's feed since July 2017.

 

 

"A man who has no respect for the judiciary should have absolutely no power to appoint a Supreme Court justice," asserted Goldberg. "Some days I would like to be unblocked so my voice can be heard and I can challenge all of his false rhetoric directly. Other days my blood pressure and sanity appreciate that I'm still blocked."

Holly Figueroa O'Reilly, another plaintiff in the case who proudly proclaimed in her Twitter bio, "I sued Trump. And won," doesn't believe Trump was obligated by the court to unblock all his foes.

"He didn't unblock everyone and wasn't told to by the court," O'Reilly told The Advocate. While she believes Trump's actions are within the law, she refuses to accept them as right. 

"He can mute us and we'll never know, but not allowing us to read and reply to his 'official statements from the White House,' as Sean Spicer and other officials have called them, is unconstitutional," she said.

In the meantime, being blocked by the president has become a badge of honor. @TrumpBlockParty, an account that defines itself as "Just ordinary US citizens (plus a few global friends) who have been blocked by @realDonaldTrump," has become a space for the blocked to mock Trump from a digital distance.

 

While the Justice Department continues to defend the president's freedom to tweet as he pleases in the appeal, the Americans who sued him have yet to be satisfied.

"Elected officials should not be able to silence people on social media," O'Reilly said.

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