The president and his staff have responded to a court order and unblocked a number of Trump’s most vocal critics on Twitter — but even as he was removing his “blocks,” attorneys for the president were appealing the judge’s ruling to a higher court.
Last month, a federal judge issued a strange and confusing ruling, declaring the president’s Twitter feed a “public forum” run by the government and the president’s habit of blocking his critics a violation of the First Amendment’s right to protest and petition the government for redress through public channels of communication (though she stopped short of declaring all of Twitter a public forum).
“This case requires us to consider whether a public official may, consistent with the First Amendment, ’block’ a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views that person has expressed, and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the President of the United States,” the judge wrote in her opinion. “The answer to both questions is no.”
Trump’s Twitter feed was public, she said, because the president, who is technically an employee of the federal government, runs it, even though the network itself is privately owned and the government exercises no control over Twitter, which is a private company.
The Justice Department announced Tuesday that they would appeal the ruling, filing a notice on behalf of both President Donald Trump and the president’s communication adviser, Dan Scavino.
In the meantime, the president has unblocked most of his Twitter critics, including those seven users named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. His Twitter foes, which include Rosie O’Donnell and Stephen King, may now go back to pointlessly responding to the president whenever he Tweets in a sad display of their own futile resistance and flagging cultural relevance.
Since the ruling does not cover the Twitter “mute” button, which silences certain users and removes them from a person’s timeline without informing those same users of their “muted” status, it’s likely the president is simply silencing his critics in a way they’ll never discover.