Monday, July 27, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He complained about "illegal" free speech.

Trump used Twitter today to complain about Twitter, apparently hoping for sympathy:

For the record: it is not "illegal" to say unflattering things about the president. And although it's not what Twitter does, it wouldn't be illegal for them to highlight people who did.

Trump is half-right, though: there are a lot of unflattering hashtags about him trending on Twitter. As of about 9:20 p.m. EDT, the following topics are trending:

Two baseball games, two trends referencing the very thing Trump is complaining about, and a neutral reference to the malaria drug that Trump gambled would solve the COVID-19 crisis for him. (It didn't.) 

Again, it is not illegal to tweet about any of these things, or to point out that people tweeted about them.

It wasn't the only fake law Trump decreed via tweet today. He also insisted that because of the "recently re-enacted... Statues and Monuments Act," anyone vandalizing federal property would spend a "MINIMUM TEN YEARS IN PRISON."

Vandalism has always been a crime, but no such law exists. Assuming he wasn't simply lying, Trump may be thinking of an executive order he recently signed authorizing surveillance of lawful protestors against Confederate monuments.

Why does this matter?

  • Presidents don't get to just make up laws on the spot.
  • No matter how much it upsets him, it's not a crime to say mean things about Donald Trump.
  • Playing the victim isn't a great look for the single most powerful person on the planet.