President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to blast the social media platform for allowing a tweet containing a crudely-produced caricature of Mitch McConnell wearing a Soviet Army uniform, Business Insider reported. He further called on lawmakers to repeal a law that shields websites from being held responsible for the content that users post as long as certain conditions are met.
On Saturday, Twitter user @MarcusPollos, whose account has fewer than 200 followers, posted a meme that depicts the Kentucky senator standing in Red Square in a uniform reminiscent of the old Soviet Union, with the caption “Moscow Mitch.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting the Worst Senator pic.twitter.com/fduZcop3rr
— Marco Pollo (@MarcusPollos) September 5, 2020
The crudely-manipulated photo and its caption reference allegations that McConnell has purportedly blocked efforts to pass election security bills, despite the widespread belief that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. As The Hill reported in 2019, McConnell is not a fan of the moniker.
On Tuesday, Trump called on Twitter to remove the image.
“Why does Twitter leave phony pictures like this up, but take down Republican/Conservative pictures and statements that are true? Mitch must fight back and repeal Section 230, immediately. Stop biased Big Tech before they stop you! @HawleyMO @MarshaBlackburn,” he wrote.
Trump was referring to a portion of the Communications Decency Act — a law that shields websites from being held responsible for what users post as long as they make a good-faith effort to remove illegal content. Republicans, such as Missouri’s Josh Hawley, whom Trump tagged in the tweet, have pointed to the law as a way in which social media platforms can unfairly target conservatives via their policies about spreading misinformation.
Indeed, Hawley has introduced a bill in the Senate that would strip that protection unless the platforms can prove that they’re “politically neutral.” Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn, whom Trump also tweeted, has also publicly expressed support for such legislation.
Twitter, for its part, has not responded to Trump’s plea.
However, the social media platform has, in fact, previously removed political tweets that are deceptively edited. That has sometimes affected people associated with the president.
For example, as Yahoo Sports wrote in August, Eric Trump tweeted a video that portrayed the face of his father on the body of University of North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams. After the university complained, the video was taken down.
As for the “Moscow Mitch” meme, Business Insider pointed out that although Twitter does have rules in place that prohibit users from sharing content with the intent to deceive, it makes exceptions for parody or satire, which is what the McConnell photo appears to be.