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Donald Trump Filled the White House With Trolls and Conspiracy Theorists for a Far-Right Social Media Summit

Trump speaks during his weird far-right social media summit.

Donald Trump hosted a “social media summit” at the White House yesterday and the event was … well, it was something. Rather than host a single person from Twitter, Facebook, or anyone actually involved in the business of social media, Trump filled the invite list with far-right personalities, bloggers, and conspiracy theorists.

Vocal QAnon proponent Bill Mitchell was there. So was Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe, who recently tried to trick the Washington Post into running false sexual abuse accusations against Senate candidate Roy Moore (presumably as a way to discredit not just the paper but the other, seemingly legitimate accusations against Moore). Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk was there, although after the Washington Post decided to legitimize his ramblings with an op-ed byline this week, I’m surprised he was allowed into this anti-mainstream media event.

Other attendees include Ali Alexander, who spurred the Kamala Harris birtherism conspiracy on Twitter during the Democratic debates, Benny Johnson, who was fired from BuzzFeed for massive plagiarism and now works for Kirk’s Turning Point USA, and, according to Slate, the people behind sycophantically pro-Trump Twitter accounts like @mad_liberals and @CarpeDonktum.

There was some drama leading up to yesterday’s event as not every D-list far-right troll was invited.  And one (cartoonist Bill Garrison) was disinvited for being too bigoted, even for Trump. Conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer wasn’t invited and she was pissed about being snubbed. But it made sense that she wasn’t there, because for an event designed to rage against a perceived liberal bias in silencing conservative voices, there didn’t seem to be anyone invited who had actually been banned from a platform, as Loomer has.

As for what happened at the summit, a lot of weird stuff! Some highlights:

Kellyanne Conway interviewed Diamond and Silk, who Trump then hugged and called “beautiful women, African American women.”

Trump praised the conspiracy theorists in the audience, saying in a tone that seems to indicate it’s meant as praise, “the crap you think of is unbelievable.”

There were some actual journalists there, covering the event from the sidelines. At one point former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka called a one a “punk” and stormed away while Joy Villa, that woman that shows up to events wearing Trump and QAnon-inspired gowns, heckled the crowd.

Trump talked about being shadowbanned, a thing he definitely isn’t, but helps him explain why his tweets don’t always go as viral as he would hope.

(Actually, Twitter went down right as the event was starting, and while I’m sure this was just a coincidence, how incredible would it be if that had been meant to troll this crowd?)

This really gets me: Trump had his tweets printed out and blown up to use as props.

But the other props are even worse. So much worse.

So there were a bunch of giant cards with dictionary-style definitions of conservative social media buzzwords on them. And while I don’t want to be a spelling/grammar/phonetics snob, this is a White House event. You would think someone could have proofread them to make sure there wasn’t a mistake on every. single. one.

Trump’s social media summit is my actual hell.

(image: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.