Twitter’s decision to indefinitely block President Donald Trump is “un-American” and resembles repression under Communist China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on January 9.
“Silencing speech is dangerous. It’s un-American. Sadly, this isn’t a new tactic of the Left. They’ve worked to silence opposing voices for years,” he wrote in a tweet.
“We cannot let them silence 75M Americans. This isn’t the CCP,” he added, referring to the Chinese Communist Party’s weaponization of technology and social media to monitor and suppress dissent.
Earlier, Twitter announced it has permanently removed Trump’s account from its platform, saying they have identified “risk of further incitement of violence” upon review of how his recent tweets “are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter.” Facebook similarly blocked Trump until at least Jan. 20.
In reaction to Twitter’s move, Trump condemned the tech giant, saying that the firm “has gone further and further in banning free speech.”
Trump promised that he “will not be silenced.” He said his team had been negotiating with Twitter’s rivals and was looking at ways to develop their own site.
Republican lawmakers and Trump allies have criticized Twitter’s actions as censorship and abuse of power.
“Big Tech’s purge, censorship [and] abuse of power is absurd [and] profoundly dangerous,” wrote Rep. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Twitter.
“If you agree [with] Tech’s current biases (Iran, good; Trump, bad), ask yourself, what happens when you disagree?” he said. “Why should a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires have a monopoly on political speech?”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) voiced similar concerns.
“Even those who oppose Trump should see the danger of having a small [and] unelected group with the power to silence [and] erase anyone,” he said in a tweet. “And their actions will only stoke new grievances that will end up fueling the very thing they claim to be trying to prevent.”
Kate Ruane, the senior legislative council for the American Civil Liberties Union progressive advocacy organization, also made a statement saying that Twitter’s decision “should concern everyone.”
“We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now, but it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions—especially when political realities make those decisions easier,” the statement read.
Besides Trump, Twitter also forbade the accounts of lawyer Sidney Powell and Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The waves of bans on Twitter have caused some users, including radio hosts Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh, to make a voluntary exit.
Pompeo’s message rings a bell close to that of former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who also invoked the Chinese regime’s repression of those it considered enemies.
“Silencing people, not to mention the President of the U.S., is what happens in China not our country,” she wrote in a tweet.
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