Things That Matter

Twitter Bans Donald Trump Death Threats; AOC and Her ‘Squad’ Wonders Why The Platform Didn’t Extend the Same Courtesy to Them

Photo: Getty Images

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and her squad of progressive congresswomen are calling out Twitter for their double standards when it comes to free speech on their platform.

We all know it’s been a rollercoaster of a few days. Ever since it was announced on October 2nd that Trump contracted COVID-19, people have publicly expressed their thoughts on the matter via social media.

While some have offered the President, his wife, and members of his team, their thoughts and prayers, others have had a less good-natured responses.

There are members of the public Americans who are so upset with Trump and his handling of the pandemic that they believe his coronavirus diagnosis is his just desserts (and they’re not afraid to say so). Some people have even gone so far as to wish death upon the president on social media platforms.

Twitter has come out against the recent onslaught of death threats against the president, releasing a statement condemning the bad-faith Twitter users.

“Tweets that wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against anyone are not allowed and will need to be removed,” the Twitter Communications account tweeted on Friday. “This does not automatically mean suspension.”

The announcement came as a surprise to Twitter users–especially public figures in marginalized communities–who were accustomed to receiving frequent violent threats via the platform.

“The decision to suddenly enforce this policy underscores that centralizing content moderation decisions with Big Tech monopolies will always protect the powerful and silence the marginalized,” said trans activist Evan Greer to The Guardian.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez also didn’t hesitate to point out the hypocrisy of Twitter’s statement.

“So… you mean to tell us you could‘ve done this the whole time?” she tweeted back at Twitter’s communications account. This prompted a response from another member of her “Squad”, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Minnesota.

“Seriously though, this is messed up,” said Rep. Tlaib. “The death threats towards us should have been taking more seriously by @TwitterComms.”

Members of The Squad, as they call themselves, have been open about the vitriolic harassment they frequently face on social media. These attacks often have sexist, racist, and violent undertones, which makes their messaging all the more frightening.

For example, last year, Ocasio Cortez revealed that she has mornings where the “first thing” she does is review photos of men who “want to kill her”. The fact that now, Twitter is taking a stand against death threats, when before they claimed that free speech prevented them from doing anything, wreaks of hypocrisy.

Representative Ilhan Omar has had similar experiences as AOC’s, but hers have an added layer of Islamophobia. In April 2019, she released a statement saying: “I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life — many directly referencing or replying to the President’s video. I thank the Capitol Police, the FBI, the House Sergeant at Arms, and the Speaker of the House for their attention to these threats.”

The video Omar was referring to was footage of a speech she gave to a chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. In her speech, she said that Muslims were treated like “second-class citizens” in the United States because “some people did some things” on 9/11.

President Trump retweeted the video, edited to be interspersed with footage of planes crashing into the Twin Towers. He captioned the video: “We will never forget!”

In her statement, Omar continued, saying: “Violent rhetoric and all forms of hate speech have no place in our society, much less from our country’s Commander in Chief. We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop.”

Since it’s initial statement, Twitter has further clarified saying in a statement to Motherboard: “We’re prioritizing the removal of content when it has a clear call to action that could potentially cause real-world harm.”

We can all probably agree that this policy makes complete sense. What doesn’t make sense is why Twitter prioritizes Donald Trump’s life over the lives of these four less powerful women.

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says She Faced Close Encounter And Feared For Her Life

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says She Faced Close Encounter And Feared For Her Life

aoc / Instagram

We are getting a better look into what happened at the U.S. Capitol when Trump supporters stormed the building. There have been stories of politicians with military history saving lives and horrific revelations. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently let the world know that she had a moment when she feared for her life.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is speaking out after the violent day at the Capitol building.

In an hour-long Instagram Live video, Rep. AOC spoke frankly about what happened while far-right Trump supporters stormed the building. The unruly mob turned a usually ceremonious and boring function of Congress, certifying the electoral votes, into one of the darkest days for our democracy. For Rep. AOC, it was almost the end of her life.

“As for myself, I had a pretty traumatizing event happen to me. I do not know if I can even disclose the full details of that event due to security concerns,” she said in her Instagram Live while recounting the insurrection of Jan. 6. “I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die and you have all of those thoughts where, you know, at the end of your life, and all of these thoughts come rushing to you. That’s what happened to a lot of us on Wednesday. I did not think, I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive. Not just in a general sense but also in a very, very specific sense.”

Rep. AOC also used her Instagram Live to talk about the traitorous acts she witnessed.

At the beginning of the video, Rep. AOC highlights the Republicans who helped create the dangerous insurrection. She did not hold back on naming some of the people she holds responsible for inciting the mob through rhetoric and political ambition.

“Wednesday, as you know, the president, frankly assisted by members of Congress, incited an attack on the United States Capitol,” Rep. AOC says in the video. “This is known as an act of insurrection, an act of sedition. Frankly, he is a traitor to our country, a traitor to the United States and I don’t think there’s another way you can put it. I don’t think there’s another way to put, there’s no other way to put it.”

She continued adding: “If you are Senator Ted Cruz or Senator Josh Hawley, and frankly if you are many members of Congress, you cast that vote not out of genuine belief, but you cast it out of political ambition. That is what they did. They incited an attack on the Capitol and many many many members of Congress were almost murdered. Many Congressional staffers were almost killed. Many children, children of members of Congress, were there. Children.”

Rep. AOC is not the only member of Congress sounding the alarm about colleagues making this happen.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., came forward to tell people about how she saw Republican members of Congress allegedly working with the rioters.

“We can’t have a democracy if members of Congress are actively helping the president overturn the elections results,” Rep. Sherrill said during a live webcast Tuesday. “And so not only do I intend to see that the president is removed and never runs for office again and doesn’t have access to classified material, I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him; those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 — a reconnaissance for the next day; those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd; those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy; I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s chief of staff reported her own terrifying moment.

Sarah Groh told Boston Globe that she and her husband were in Rep. Pressley’s office and barricaded the door with furniture. That was when she tried to use the panic buttons for help, which she had done before. Despite never changing offices, Groh said that all of the panic buttons were gone.

READ: Ted Cruz Among Senators Facing Backlash And Calls To Resign After Mob Breaches US Capitol

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What Is the 25th Amendment and What Does it Do?: A Primer

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What Is the 25th Amendment and What Does it Do?: A Primer

via Getty Images

So in case you missed it, some crazy stuff went down at the Capitol yesterday. A mob of far-right Trump supporters broke into the Capitol building in “protest” of Congress ratifying President Elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College votes.

The heinous episode shocked and rattled many Americans. After months of inflammatory rhetoric, President Trump effectively activated his base into violent and treasonous actions. And people are upset. 

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have since called for Trump’s resignation. But knowing President Trump, it isn’t likely that he’s going to do that.

Because of that, lawmakers have reportedly been having talks to discuss invoking the 25th Amendment.

The 25th Amendment has four sections that dictate what will happen in the event of an acting president being unable to carry out the duties of office. These events have usually amounted to…colonoscopies (no, really). But this time around, lawmakers are looking to the fourth section of the amendment to remove Trump from office. And this is where the wording gets super lawyer-y.

Section Four the 25th Amendment states:

“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

Translation: The Vice President, Trump’s cabinet, the Senate leader, and the Speaker of the House would all have to agree to ousting Trump.

It’s a little complicated, so let’s break it down. Vice President Pence and the majority (11 out of 23) of Trump’s cabinet would have to agree that he is unfit for office. Then, they must submit a written request to the “President pro Tempore” of the Senate (who is Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley) as well as the Speaker of the House (California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi).

But wait, that’s not all. As soon as this motion is enacted, President Trump would be able to contest that decision (which he most definitely would). In that case, VP Mike Pence, Senator Grassley, and Congresswoman Pelosi would have to re-draft another statement insisting that he is, indeed, unfit for office.

Then, two-thirds of both the Senate and the House of Representatives would have to agree with their decision.

Only then would Trump be permanently removed from the presidency.

So, yeah…a lot of steps. But there’s a good reason for that. If removing a president from office were easy, it would be done a lot more often and our democracy would be a lot shakier.

Remember relentlessly hearing about the “checks and balances” of our government in elementary school? This is what our teachers were talking about. A lot of different people in different parts of the government have to sign-off on hard decisions so we can all make sure every action is justified and reasonable.

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