President Donald Trump threatened Wednesday to wield the powers of the federal government to shut down major social media platforms ahead of November’s general election — comparing what he claimed is their malign influence over the 2020 campaign to his baseless allegations of large-scale mail-in voter fraud.
“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that happen again. Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country,” he continued. “It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!”
In another tweet later Wednesday morning, Trump wrote that Twitter “has now shown that everything we have been saying about them (and their other compatriots) is correct,” previewing: “Big action to follow!”
The president’s threat, which represented an escalation of his previous rhetoric targeting the tech giants for purported bias against conservative expression, came after Twitter flagged two of his posts on Tuesday with fact-check warnings. Those tweets falsely asserted absentee ballots are likely to be “substantially fraudulent.”