Donald Trump filed suit against Twitter on Oct. 1, requesting that the Florida federal court order Twitter to reverse the suspension of his account, @realDonaldTrump. The social media platform made the move two days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, saying it had “permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” Trump’s complaint, which includes a few curious co-signers, claims Twitter’s conduct violates the “First Amendment to the United States Constitution and likewise violates Florida’s newly enacted Stop Social Media Censorship Act (‘SSMCA’).”
The suit was filed by Trump and seven other persons and entities, including the American Conservative Union (an organization that puts on CPAC), conservatarian radio host Wayne Allen Root, and liberal feminist author Naomi Wolf. Her Twitter account was suspended in June. The Daily Beast reported that action resulted in the loss of “over half of her business model, investors in her business, and other sources of income.” What’s curious is why people who are not Donald J. Trump would have standing in this suit, a fact that seems to be never mentioned, nor are their names, except in the title caption of the lawsuit.
One would expect a discussion in the complaint of the interests of those suing. Is this suit an attempt to generate untold mentions in media, such as this publication, or a genuine effort to redress a legal breach? With Trump, it is hard to tell. I asked Liberty Nation‘s senior political analyst Tim Donner if Trump needed the account back to win the White House again. He said:
“This likely serves the dual purpose of getting back something Trump lost which was central to his election and making himself a martyr should Twitter refuse to reinstate him. But most of all, this keeps Trump and the story in the news and puts Twitter on defense.”
Help From the Sunshine State?
Trump’s First Amendment claims are not any more likely to succeed now than when he made them in previous litigation. If the federal government abridged his free speech rights through pressure on Twitter, a proper claim is against the government, not the social media company. What about the claims under the new Florida law? Is there any help there for the former serial tweeter? Hardly. A federal judge said the law amounted to compelled speech, strictly prohibited by the First Amendment, and issued an injunction.
Trump abandoned his low-traffic blog after just 29 days. He now posts releases like “news” items on his website. He did not post one about this lawsuit.
~ Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.