President Trump on Thursday announced he is directing his administration to explore all regulatory and legislation solutions to “protect the free speech of all Americans.”
Trump, speaking to conservative social media personalities at a White House “summit,” said big tech “must not censor the voices of the American people.”
“We’re not going to be silenced,” he said. Trump complained that people have been unable to follow him on some social media platforms. “People come up to me and say ‘Sir, I can’t follow you.’ ”
Facebook and Twitter were not included in Thursday’s event. Trump announced that he will be calling a meeting of the major social media companies in the coming weeks.
The president praised the participants in Thursday’s East Room event. “Some of you are extraordinary. The crap you think of is incredible.”
The president gave them a unique definition of the Constitution’s First Amendment free speech protections. “To me free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposefully write bad. To me that’s very dangerous speech and you become angry at it. But that’s not free speech.”
This comes at a time when the president, an enthusiastic user of social media — especially Twitter, which he often deploys to rally his base — has been criticizing the social media platforms, accusing them of silencing those who support him.
One guest, a Twitter user who goes by CarpeDonktum, said that when he got the email invitation to the White House, he thought it might be spam.
He requested that we withhold his real name. He says he fears retaliation against his family.
The stay-at-home dad in Kansas is a celebrity in the conservative social media world — with more than 100,000 followers on Twitter. (His moniker is a play on the Latin phrase carpe diem — meaning seize the day. CarpeDonktum, seize the donkey, refers to Democrats.)
He’s a prolific creator of pro-Trump images and videos mocking the left, which he tweets out. Several of his spoofs have been retweeted by the president.
CarpeDonktum announced his invitation on Twitter.
The White House had kept quiet about the guest list. But it seemed to consist of the Trump Twitterverse, conservative social media personalities who orbit around Trump’s Twitter star.
And yet, Trump has attacked those same social media platforms that have been so key to his success.
“You look at Google, Facebook, Twitter and other social media giants, and I’ve made it clear that we as a country cannot tolerate political censorship, blacklisting and rigged search results,” the president said last year.