Twitter did a very brave thing this morning. Then it also did something dangerous.
It published a tweet by President Donald Trump that advocated shooting rioters in Minneapolis and around the country but provided a disclaimer.
“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
Really, Twitter? Because we don’t have a rising population of white angst and a penchant for that angst to boil over into rampage style shootings?
The most dangerous part of the tweet is that Trump is denouncing the rioters as THUGS. Capital letters.
This means big mad and big statement to his loyal following. With his allegiance to the NRA community and worship by the alt-right, the message can be deciphered as a call to action.
In a late-night tweet, Trump wrote: “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
The Almost “Cover Up”
A few hours later, Twitter hid the tweet behind the “glorification of violence” message. However, they were specific to the problem in Trump’s tweet:
“Violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.”
“As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it.”
Twitter did everything except literally say that the tweet can be deemed as a call to action for extremist groups or individuals. With people discouraged with the way the local Minneapolis government is handling the incident, they are rioting out of frustration.
Donald Trump just casually dropped a bomb over Twitter. A virtual flare in an ocean of hate if you will. He is signaling open season on “THUGS” instead of showing up and trying to heal the city.
It is indicative of the times we are in where profits Usain Bolt leap over safety and police brutality is responded with attacks on the public by the President.