If Donald Trump loves one thing in this world, it’s Donald Trump. If he loves two things, a close second-place goes to his Twitter feed. Unfortunately, in addition to Trump’s loyal armies of patriots and trolls, Twitter also hosts both liberals and members of the lying liberal media—people who do not show President Trump the respect he deserves. And for that, they must be blocked.
Now, Trump has never shied away from hitting the block button; before he assumed the presidency, Trump appears to have blocked users with frequency and vigor. His new office, though, heightens the stakes considerably. It’s not just petty for a sitting president to block his constituency; it also has troubling First Amendment implications.
Trump has recently trained his sights on higher-profile targets, too. On the morning of June 13, Trump blocked the account for VoteVets.org, a group representing over 500,000 veterans, family members, and civilian supporters. Not long after, Trump also blocked Simpsons extra and occasional novelist Stephen King.
To help document this momentous time with our single-most mad-online president yet, we’ll keep a running list of some of President Trump’s more notable blockages. Twitter doesn’t let you see who blocks whom (it would kind of defeat the purpose), so we’ve based the below on self-reporting. Trump has also blocked too many people at this point for us to make a totally comprehensive list, which is definitely normal president-type behavior, so consider this more of a regularly updated highlight reel.
Description: VoteVets is a progressive, non-profit PAC that seeks to stock Congress with veterans critical of the war in Iraq.
Reason for blockage: According to The Hill, early Tuesday morning the veterans group sent out a fundraising blast soliciting donations against Trump’s “dangerous agenda.” You also might remember VoteVets as the group behind the below ad, which targeted at Trump himself earlier this year and ran right in the middle of his morning stories.
A perhaps more likely catalyst, though, seems to be this series of tweets that VoteVets let off in response to Trump’s tweet about the travel ban on the morning of June 13. The group said both that Trump’s “Muslim ban is unconstitutional, immoral, & a threat to our nat’l security” and that “the way @realDonaldTrump fawns over and fan dances for Putin is a threat to our [national] security.” That, or Trump’s still just mad about the interruption to Morning Joe.
Reason for blockage: Hard to say! The most recent moderately anti-Trump tweet from King came roughly 24 hours before he announced that he was blocked. In it, he didn’t “@” Trump nor did he really mention the president himself directly. He simply wrote, “If Ivanka Trump had grown up in farm country, like some of us, she’d know her father is reaping exactly what he sowed.” Which, to be fair, is very open to interpretation.
Occupation: Actress, formerly of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame
Reason for blockage: Just six minutes before Marina let the world know that the president had removed her from view, she tweeted at him the following: “Threatening to go to WAR to deflect from Russiagate!! Willing to let our boys die to save his sorry ass!” While it would seem that we have our culprit, Sirtis has also made a habit out of referring to Trump as “the orange menace.” While it’s unlikely Trump would have ever seen those tweets, given the extent to which he obsesses over others’ opinions of him, it’s hard to know for sure.
Occupation: Writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live and The New Yorker
Reason for blockage: The only tweets Kalb (who also had a brief stint at WIRED) made at Trump directly on the day of the blocking read, when strung together, as follows: “Oh boy, honey. I’ve tried to lay off and let you President like you said you would, but this is a new kind of simplistic nonsense rhetoric. I know you’re trying to pivot away from how embarrassing the big trip was for all of us to watch (Pushing! Pope! Saudi bowing!) but…this? Honestly, hun this is all so far over your head. If you need to have another ‘bone spur’ and let Mike take over, no one will blame you.”
Now, this doesn’t even remotely border on some of the worst invective hurled at Trump through tweets. It could be that Trump was alerted to the tweets because of Kalb’s high follower count, or he could have happened upon them entirely by chance. On the other hand, maybe it was this:
There’s also the fact that Kalb habitually responds to most, if not all, of Donald Trump’s tweets. Granted, the chances of Trump reading anything and retaining it are not generally high, but if you tweet at him enough, it almost certainly increases your chances of being noticed to the point that Trump makes sure he never notices you again.
Occupation: Entrepreneur and co-founder of Sivvr
Reason for blockage: On June 1, when Trump suggested that we “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” Joshi responded, “I guess ‘Making America Great Again’ means destroying the world.” This was followed by a sad face emoji and a gif of a child being pummeled by a globe. Which of these parts Trump took particular offense to remains unknown, but almost 12 hours after the original tweet, the deed had been done. Joshi would never know when it was time to make America great again, again.
Occupation: Songwriter, #MarchForTruth organizer
Reason for blockage: Trolling in the first degree. O’Reilly wrote about her experience in The Washington Post:
On a recent Saturday morning, May 28, my phone started buzzing as Trump tweeted: “British Prime Minister May was very angry that the info the U.K. gave to U.S. about Manchester was leaked. Gave me full details!”
My responses were swift and not politically correct (“bloody idiot” figured into one popular tweet), but if anyone understands the need to eschew political correctness, it’s our dear leader.
She has also called him “the whitest man that ever whited,” “Nostradumbass,” and a “national embarrassment.” Now, The Knight First Amendment Institute is even threatening legal action on behalf of both O’Reilly and cyclist Joe Papp should Trump refuse to unblock them. A true sacrifice indeed, given the torture that is following Trump’s Twitter feed.
Occupation: Former professional cyclist
Reason for blockage: Papp, O’Reilly’s partner in potential legal action, replied to Trump’s June 3 weekly address with a simple, “Greetings form Pittsburgh, Sir.” So far so good! He was polite, friendly—the opposite of everything Twitter stands for. Then came response number two: “Why didn’t you attend your #PittsburghNotParis rally in DC, Sir? #fakeleader.” Apparently, that crossed the Rubicon, and he blocked Papp the next day.
Occupation: Tech journalist
Reason for blockage: This one is pretty easy to call. Between 8:00 am and 8:47 am, Elgan sent no less than eight tweets that included Donald Trump’s Twitter handle. They ranged from pointing out Trump’s loose understanding of phrases and, more generally, “words” (“BTW, a witch hunt is when you attack people on bad evidence, as with your birther attack on Obama. An investigation is about facts”) to questioning the legitimacy of his presidency (“He was undemocratically elected through voter suppression, Russian interference, fake news, a compliant media, then lost by 3 million votes”). Trump proceeded to block him about an hour later.
Occupation: Creator of Honest Trailers on YouTube
Reason for blockage: Trump must have been feeling fairly block-happy on the morning of June 4, because Andy Signore also found himself thrust into a Trump Twitter blackout. In response to Trump’s tweet misquoting the Mayor of London, Signore said, “I am so damn sick of bully @realDonaldTrump taking words out of context to act out his agenda of fear, corruption & bigotry. #NotMyPresident.” About seven hours later, the president’s precious tweets were ripped from Signore’s life for good.
Occupation: President of Media Matters for America
Reason for blockage: Great question! According to Carusone, he hasn’t interacted with Trump on Twitter since February, when he said, “I think I missed the satanic ritual. A lil help here @realdonaldtrump or @RealAlexJones?” Four months would be a long time to wait to strike. Carusone is, however, an outspoken critic of the Trump administration, and Media Matters itself is a progressive watchdog group tasked with monitoring many of the same shows and pundits that Trump so dearly loves. It was likely just a matter of time.
Occupation: Tech entrepreneur and former rocket scientist
Reason for blockage: There are a few possibilities. In response to a simple request by Donald Trump to “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” Szczerba responded with, “Sorry – no matter how many times you say MAGA, James Comey is still going to tell the world all about you next Thursday.”
Szczerba himself thinks he might have been blocked for a tweet that came very shortly after. “The tweet that got me blocked by Trump was posted at 9:05pm EST June 1 (the same day as Trump announced our withdrawal from the Paris Accord),” he said. That tweet read, “I heard #covfefe is a new flavor from Ben & Jerry’s. But it’s mostly just nuts! #ParisAgreement #ParisAccord.” Szczerba was blocked almost immediately after the tweet went out. We mourn for his loss.
Description: The Opposition is a progressive group working to resist Trump
Reason for blockage: Obviously the fact that the group is explicitly anti-Trump makes them an easy target. But they likely first came to Trump’s attention (or that of whoever is behind all the blocking on Trump’s account) the afternoon before the deed was done. On June 12, The Opposition quoted a tweet about the repeated blocking of Trump’s Muslim Ban with the text, “So, when does the winning actually begin, @realDonaldTrump?” A quick look at the account was probably all the evidence Trump’s minders needed.
Occupation: #MarchForTruth Organizer
Reason for blockage: Also somewhat unknown. According to Uhl, he “didn’t even do anything” and hasn’t “replied to one of his tweets in weeks.” He did, however, tweet at Trump on June 9 to ask if he “was going to Pride🌈 this weekend.” Did Donald Trump go to Pride that weekend? Maybe! Like most weekends, he refused to let the press follow him to his various engagements (of crashing weddings and middle school grad parties). If you saw Donald Trump at Pride, let us know.
Reason for blockage: On June 4, Trump mangled the Mayor of London’s words in tweet accusing Sadiq Khan as saying there is “no reason to be alarmed” in the wake of a devastating terrorist attack. Wolfe, much like everyone else on Twitter, decided to correct Trump:
What Khan in fact said: There was “no reason to be alarmed” by an increased, armed police presence. You know no bounds. Liar. A politician twisting words to create fear and garner control – that’s fascism. “We become strong, I feel, when we have no friends upon whom to lean, or to look to for moral guidance.” – Mussolini Trump repeatedly tweets white nationalist and fascist words. Now he’s actually saying them.
In the face of these accusations of fascism, Trump did the only reasonable thing: He stuck his fingers firmly in his ears and yelped until the bad words went away.
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