Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) announced Saturday that his official Twitter account had been suspended due to a post he made about Health and Human Services assistant secretary for health Rachel Levine, who is transgender.
According to a screenshot posted of the tweet, Banks said “the title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man,” a reference to Levine, who became the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps’ first openly transgender four-star officer.
“The account referenced has been temporarily locked for violating our Hateful Conduct Policy. The account owner is required to delete the violative Tweet before regaining access to their account,” a Twitter spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.
According to Twitter’s hateful conduct policy, hateful conduct can include “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”
Jim Banks defended his decision to issue the tweet. In a statement issued through Twitter on Saturday from his personal account, he said, “My tweet was a statement of fact. Big Tech doesn’t have to agree with me, but they shouldn’t be able to cancel me. If they silence me, they will silence you.”
Banks added that “when Republicans take back the House next year, we must restore honesty to our public forums and hold Big Tech accountable.”
Banks said he would be posting from his personal account in the meantime.
Republicans have alleged that social media companies have sought to unfairly censor conservatives. This year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that fines social media companies seeking to ban political candidates on their sites.