For someone who is as vocal and outspoken as Donald Trump on social media, he has shockingly thin skin. Trump has been known to hide and run away from protesters both on and offline, unable to take the much-needed criticism that Americans are trying to offer. Because of Trump’s fragile ego, it has been quite common for Trump to block other Twitter users for simply expressing their First Amendment rights. This habit, however, has landed Trump in deep sh*t. He’s now being sued for it!
On Tuesday, Trump and his top White House officials were sued by the Knight First Amendment Institute for blocking Twitter users simply because they were criticizing him. The case, which was filed in Manhattan federal court, states that this violates the Constitution and calls for Trump to stop blocking dissenting Americans immediately.
Trump had been warned that this would happen. In June, the Knight First Amendment Institute sent a letter to Trump, his counsel, press secretary, and social media director, stating that they were representing two Twitter users that had been blocked after criticizing Trump. Trump failed to listen, and now the Institute is representing five more Twitter users who have been treated this way by the President.
The complaint states that Trump’s Twitter account is “a public forum under the First Amendment” because he and his staff are using it to make presidential announcements and constantly use it to communicate with the American people. Press secretary Sean Spicer has also called Trump’s tweets ‘official statements’ in the past.
The complaint also states that Trump’s blocking “imposes an unconstitutional restriction on their right to access statements that defendants are otherwise making available to the public at large. It also imposes an unconstitutional restriction on their right to petition the government for redress of grievances.”
Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute’s executive director, said:
“President Trump’s Twitter account has become an important source of news and information about the government, and an important forum for speech by, to, or about the president. The First Amendment applies to this digital forum in the same way it applies to town halls and open school board meetings. The White House acts unlawfully when it excludes people from this forum simply because they’ve disagreed with the president.”
The Knight Institute is calling on the court to declare Trump’s “viewpoint-based blocking” unconstitutional, force Trump to unblock the plaintiffs and have Trump pay for their legal fees.
It’s about time something like this caught up with Trump. He’s conducted himself as the least transparent, and less interested POTUS when it comes to listening to the American people. He tries to silence and drown out all of the dissenting voices around him, instead of actually considering that there might be a reason behind his historically low approval rating. Trump is not a dictator, and he cannot take away Americans’ First Amendment rights, not even when their free speech opposes him. It’s about time he learned.
Featured image via Alex Wong / Getty Images