Just days after Fox News reported that a New York Times columnist apologized for invoking the idea of assassination of Donald Trump on Twitter, it appears that a new spate of “assassinate Trump” tweets has popped up on the social media site.
As Fox News first reported on February 25, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat posted a disparaging tweet regarding Trump on Twitter. In the tweet, the columnist “jokingly suggested” that the only way to end Donald Trump’s beeline to the White House would be if someone attempted to assassinate the former reality TV star and current presumed GOP presidential nominee.
The reaction to Douthat’s tweet were not favorable, and based on the multitude of negative responses to the tweet, he voluntarily removed it from his Twitter feed, replacing it with an apology.
A lot readers were offended by my Trump/"Dead Zone" joke from yesterday. I can see why, and I've deleted the tweet. Apologies.
— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) February 25, 2016
Since Donald Trump’s tremendous Super Tuesday victory, where he all but swept the GOP primaries in participating states, Breitbart reports that an “ugly wave of rhetoric” has shown up on Twitter. According to Breitbart, dozens of tweets have been posted on Twitter specifically and explicitly calling for the assassination of Trump. The report goes on to say that “most of the tweets appear to be from accounts of black Americans.”
The Twitter terms of service expressly prohibit calling for violence anyone, and the social media platform has a history of removing/suspending accounts when threats of violence and/or calls to violence are made. However, at the time of the drafting of this article, the following Tweets about Trump were still live, the accounts responsible still active.
Can one of you gangbangers go and shoot Donald Trump ?
— Old school. (@Clauudiaaaa) March 2, 2016
I truly believe one my fellow ese's gone assassinate trump
— SC: SoSaucey (@So_SauceyEnt) March 3, 2016
If Trump gets elected ill assassinate him and face whatever consequence happily don't worry I got you all
— ✨ Viv ✨ (@taacobae) March 4, 2016
Other tweets about assassinating Trump are no longer active on Twitter.
“If you see a Trump supporter in public you just gotta square up and shoot the fair one. Twitter gon start up a GoFundMe to pay for your bail
— Thighler Thigpen (@iLoveshawn5000) March 2, 2016
at this point things are getting scary and someone NEEDS TO TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM AND ASSASSINATE TRUMP PLEASE
— cam fal (@Camryn236) March 3, 2016
If you see a Trump supporter in public you just gotta square up and shoot the fair one. Twitter gon start up a GoFundMe to pay for your bail
— Thighler Thigpen (@iLoveshawn5000) March 2, 2016“
In what Breitbart calls Twitter’s “recent history” of participating in a “war on conservative media,” the media outlet also claims that the Twitter account of one of their editors, Milo Yiannopoulos, had his account de-verified without explanation.
The calls to assassinate Trump on Twitter are not the only threats of violence the GOP front-runner has faced on social media. In mid-February, Emad El-Din Ali Mohamed Nasr El Sayed, a 23-year-old Egyptian student living in the United States on a student visa, was arrested for making death threats against Trump on Facebook.
“I am willing to kill Donald Trump and serve a life sentence. [T]he whole world would thank me for doing that.”
The Washington Free Beacon reports that after El Sayed’s death threats against Donald Trump, the student and Egyptian national was arrested for his threats against Trump, however the charges against him were dropped after the decision was reportedly made to revoke his visa. Following his arrest for his threats against Trump and the subsequent revocation of his visa, El Sayed is currently still living in the United States, although a California court determined Tuesday that the Egyptian student must be deported back to his country of origin.
Not surprisingly, a lawyer for the student is opposing the decision, despite his client’s social media treat to kill Donald Trump.
“This is an extraordinary step taken by the U.S. government to pressure a school owner to terminate the attendance of someone at a school. Emad never missed a single academic requirement while he was enrolled in the school.”
It’s being reported that another hearing is scheduled to take place regarding the student’s pending deportation as a result of his threats against Trump on March 4.
While conservative media outlets seem to believe that there is some kind of social media conspiracy against Donald Trump, it does appear that Twitter is taking steps to remove assassination threats and other threats of violence against Trump. The Twitter terms of service are clear, and it is evident by the removed tweets listed above that Twitter is following its rules.
It’s also worth mentioning that in December, 2015, Michael Moore enlisted his Facebook followers in an effort to get Donald Trump’s entire Facebook page shut down. The reason? According to Moore, Trump’s entire campaign platform amounts to hate speech, a violation of Facebook terms of service.
With the 2016 presidential primary season reaching a fever pitch, it’s unlikely that this is the last we’re going to be hearing about Donald Trump or Twitter. What do you think? When is it appropriate for social media sites to remove posts and/or suspend accounts? Is calling for violence against Trump on Twitter worse than Trump using Twitter to promote what so many believe to be a campaign based on racism and hate?
[Image Courtesy Of Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]