USA

Twitter warns Trump again for "abusive behavior" over Washington protests

The social media platform has cited the US president for using incendiary language in response to attempts to set up an autonomous zone in Washington.

Twitter warns Trump again for "abusive behavior" over Washington protests
LEAH MILLIS REUTERS

US President Donald Trump has fallen foul of Twitter again after responding to the prospect of an autonomous zone being set up in Washington. The social media giant flagged a tweet Trump posted after protesters clashed with police around Lafayette Square on Monday as attempts were made to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States, amid ongoing unrest across the USA following the death in police custody of George Floyd on 25 May. Twitter said Trump’s tweet violated the platform’s rules on abusive behaviour after the president threatened “serious force” would be used to prevent the establishment of an autonomous zone in the capital similar to the CHAZ in Seattle, which has also been the focus of Trump’s ire since protesters occupied an area in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle on 8 June.

There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, prompting Twitter to remove it from open view and prevent is being shared. The company did though say it will “remain on the service given its relevance to ongoing public conversation."

The US president has previously threatened to send in the National Guard to break up the CHAZ, a move that the city’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, said would be “unconstitutional and illegal." 

Twitter takes Trump to task

Twitter’s decision marks the third time Trump has been reprimanded by the social media platform recently. In May, the president was censored for the first time by the site for a pair of tweets claiming the mail-in ballots for November’s presidential elections would be “substantially fraudulent.” Twitter responded by adding a blue exclamation mark after scrutiny by fact-checkers.

Later in May Twitter again took action against Trump after he threatened to send the National Guard into Minneapolis to quell protests over the death of Floyd. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” the president wrote, prompting Twitter to add a tag to the missive stating that "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence.” It too remained accessible after the platform decided it was also in the public interest.

Trump: 10 years in prison for statue attacks

With regard to the ongoing protests in Washington, Trump promised firm action against any further attempts to pull down the statue of Jackson, who remains a controversial figure in US history due to his role in the forced removal of Native Americans and his censure of the Anti-slavery Tracts sent to the south by northern abolitionists. Several confederate war memorials have been the target of attacks by protesters in recent weeks.

“I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent,” Trump wrote. “This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!