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Twitter Refuses to Delete Trump’s Venomous Conspiracy Theories

The rules never seem to apply to our monstrous president.

Donald Trump makes a pouty face in front of an American flag.

I think we can all agree that Donald Trump shouldn’t be on Twitter. Trump’s Twitter addiction, which has consistently fired up his fanbase, is a hotbed of lies, slander, incitements to violence, and other bouts of mental diarrhea spewed out into 280 characters.

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But his latest tweets emphasize the cruelty that underscores his entire administration. While 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, the president is instead tweeting baseless conspiracy theories about MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. The tweets center on the tragic death of Lori Klausutis, a Scarborough staffer who died of an undiagnosed heart condition while at work nearly 19 years ago. Trump has repeatedly implicated that Scarborough was involved in her death, which is an outright lie and conspiracy theory.

In response, Lori’s widower Timothy Klausutis has penned an open letter to Twitter chief Jack Dorsey, asking for the painful tweets to be taken down. He wrote,

“The frequency, intensity, ugliness, and promulgation of these horrifying lies ever increases on the internet. These conspiracy theorists, including most recently the President of the United States, continue to spread their bile and misinformation on your platform disparaging the memory of my wife and our marriage. President Trump on Tuesday tweeted to his nearly 80 million followers alluding to the repeatedly debunked falsehood that my wife was murdered by her boss, former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough. The son of the president followed and more directly attacked my wife by tweeting to his followers as the means of spreading this vicious lie.”

“I’m asking you to intervene in this instance because the President of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him — the memory of my dead wife — and perverted it for perceived political gain.”

Trump’s callous tweets violate Twitter’s community rules and terms of service. The tweets would be enough to ban an average user from the platform, but Klausitis only asks that the tweets be removed. After taking the weekend to come up with a solution, Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio released a statement saying,

“We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family. We’ve been working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly.”

It’s a weak response from a site that has never held Donald Trump accountable for his tweets. The company hides comfortably behind their declaration that anything the president says is “newsworthy” and therefore can remain. But the situation is an ouroboros: Trump’s lies fuel Twitter’s numbers, which in turn fuel headlines for Trump. It’s an exhausting and seemingly unbreakable cycle, and while #TakeTrumpOffTwitter is trending, the company will likely wait until the next Trump tweet changes the conversation yet again.

By now, we’ve learned that the rules don’t apply to Donald J. Trump. Most rules don’t apply to wealthy white men in America, but Trump has reveled in a kind of invulnerability that has earned him the nickname “Teflon Don.” Nothing seems to stick, and even when it does, it fails to linger. This ability has only been amplified with his election in 2016. Scandals that would have torpedoed previous presidencies simply bounce off him, and nothing, not the stealing or the lying or the cheating or the impeachment have made a dent in the monstrous juggernaut that is the Trump presidency.

The only thing that will stop him is a resounding defeat in November. And even if we’re lucky enough to achieve it, who knows what he’ll do to meddle with yet another election. Buckle up kids, it’s a long and bumpy road to November.

(via NY Times, image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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