A professor, a surgical resident and a police officer – these are just a few of the Twitter users President Trump has blocked since he took office.
While Trump’s staff argued the president has the right to remove trolls from his Twitter feed, others disagreed, including a New York federal judge who ruled May 23 that the act violates the First Amendment.
U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said Trump can not block critics based on their political views; and the public should be free to interact with Trump’s account as they see freely.
TRUMP CAN’T BLOCK TWITTER USERS OVER THEIR POLITICAL VIEWS, NY FEDERAL JUDGE SAYS
“We hold that portions of the @realDonaldTrump account – the ‘interactive space’ where Twitter users may directly engage with the content of the President’s tweets – are properly analyzed under the ‘public forum’ doctrines set forth by the Supreme Court,” U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald explained in her written decision.
Buchwald said a declaratory judgment should be “sufficient,” adding that though she didn’t issue an order against Trump, he’s expected to abide by the law. However, plaintiffs can choose to go back and ask for such an order, and if it is not obeyed, the violator can be held in contempt.
In the mean time, Trump was advised to simply mute users he didn’t wish to hear from rather than block them.
The case against the president was brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and seven individuals blocked by Trump because of their critical replies on Twitter.
Here’s a look at some of the Twitter users that were on Trump’s block list – and the tweets that got them there.
Philip Cohen, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland who studies inequality, said he was blocked by Trump for replying to his tweets with memes and other critical comments.
In a June 2017 blog post, Cohen admitted he used the social media platform to post “memes starting opposition to Trump or mocking him.”
“It’s not a sophisticated operation, but it didn’t take up very much of my time, and for the effort I think it had good results,” he explained, adding that he was verified on Twitter at the time.
Cohen said he used Trump Twitter threads to meet people and have open discussions about current events.
“Sure, most of the dialogue is pointless shouting and insults, which I am naturally way above, but not all of it, and for every person shouting there are many people reading along, who may be influenced by what they see,” he added.
The professor posted several screenshots of tweets he exchanged with the president before his account was blocked.
“We won our First Amendment lawsuit against President Trump https://familyinequality.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/we-won-our-first-amendment-lawsuit-against-president-trump/ …”
– @Philip N Cohen (@familyunequal)
The political organizer
Holly Figueroa, a national organizer of the “March for Truth” movement and self-described “Grammy losing singer,” said she was blocked over an animated GIF.
“I told him that the pope looked at him funny – using an animated GIF with some precision papal side eye,” Figueroa explained in a June 2017 Op-Ed for The Washington Post.
“Hey! I wrote a little something for the . @washingtonpost about Trump blocking me on Twitter. http://wapo.st/2rK5UJ3?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.3ba7f09ae76d … #WedesdayWisdom”
– @Holly Figueroa O’Reilly BWCS (@AynRandPaulRyan)
Figueroa said she set up alerts for Trump tweets and replied when she felt necessary. On May 28, Trump tweeted about British Prime Minister Theresa May being “angry that the info the U.K. gave to U.S. about Manchester was leaked. Gave me full details!”
Again, Figueroa fired back with “not politically correct” remarks, which included calling the president a “bloody idiot.”
“If anyone understands the need to eschew political correctness, it’s our dear leader,” she wrote.
Later that day, Figueroa said she was surprised to notice she was blocked.
Rebecca Buckwalter, judicial affairs editor for the Daily Kos, displays a screenshot of Trump’s blocked Twitter page on the banner of her Twitter account.
Buckwalter says she was blocked by Trump for replying to his June 6, 2017 tweet, which read: “Sorry folks, but if I would have relied on the Fake News of CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, washpost or nytimes, I would have had ZERO change of winning WH.”
“To be fair you didn’t win the WH: Russia won it for you,” Buckwalter replied in a tweet that has since been pinned to the top of her feed.
“To be fair you didn’t win the WH: Russia won it for you.”
– @RPBP (@rpbp)
The surgical resident
Dr. Eugene Gu’s Twitter bio boasts his accomplishments, which includes being “blocked by @realDonaldTrump.” Gu, who works as a resident in general surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and writes healthcare columns for various media organizations including The Hill, said he was blocked because of a “covfefe” tweet.
“The new Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election, just out with a Trump 50% Approval Rating.That’s higher than O’s #’s!” Trump tweeted on June 18, 2017.
Gu replied, “Covfefe: The same guy who doesn’t proofread his Twitter handles the nuclear button.”
Gu was blocked by Trump minutes later.
“This is the tweet that made Trump block me. Now the United States District Court rules that the President’s actions were clearly unconstitutional. Unblock me now, @realDonaldTrump. You are not above the law,” Gu requested on May 23.
“This is the tweet that made Trump block me. Now the United States District Court rules that the President’s actions were clearly unconstitutional.
Unblock me now, @realDonaldTrump . You are not above the law. https://twitter.com/eugenegu/status/876397178780078081 …”
– @Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu)
On May 24, Gu said he was still blocked by the president, despite the judge’s ruling that it violated free speech.
“I’m still blocked by Trump despite winning a federal lawsuit against him. Every day I remain blocked means the President is infringing upon my First Amendment rights and violating a federal order. Follow the rule of law and the Constitution you swore to protect, Mr. President,” he tweeted, along with a screenshot of Trump’s blocked account.
“I’m still blocked by Trump despite winning a federal lawsuit against him. Every day I remain blocked means the President is infringing upon my First Amendment rights and violating a federal order. Follow the rule of law and the Constitution you swore to protect, Mr. President.”
– @Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu)
The police officer
Brandon Neely, a police officer from Texas, updated his Twitter bio on May 23 to include that he “sued Trump and won.”
Neely, a veteran who served in Iraq, was also blocked by Trump in June 2017.
“Congratulations! First new Coal Mine of Trump Era Opens in Pennsylvania,” the president tweeted on June 12.
“Congrats and now black lung won’t be covered under #TrumpCare,” Neely replied, according to The Washington Post.
The next day, Neely shared a screenshot of Trump’s blocked account on Twitter, writing, “Looks like he is blocking all veterans. Blocked me as well.”
“Looks like he is blocking all veterans. Blocked me as well”
– @Brandon Neely (@BrandonTXNeely)
Neely has since been counting down the days since he lost access to the president’s account, saying it violates his constitutional rights.
“There is going to come a day when I tell my grandkids about the time that I along with 6 patriotic Americans took the ‘President’ to court and won,” he tweeted on May 23.
The former professional cyclist
Joseph Papp, an anti-doping advocate and former professional cyclist from Pennsylvania, says he was blocked for calling Trump a “fake leader.”
“Greetings from Pittsburgh, Sir.,” and “Why didn’t you attend your #PittsburghNotParis rally in DC, Sir? #fakeleader,” Papp asked Trump on June 3, 2017.
Papp was later blocked by the president.
“So, so very thankful to be represented by @KatieFallow. The day I was #BlockedbyTrump, she and I spoke for first time…what a relief it was to realize I would have such amazing allies,” Papp wrote after the ruling on May 23.
“So, so very thankful to be represented by @KatieFallow . The day I was #BlockedbyTrump , she and I spoke for first time…what a relief it was to realize I would have such amazing allies ✌✌https://twitter.com/OpenMindTV/status/999338071148646401 …”
– @Joe Papp (@joepabike)
Nick Jack Pappas, a writer and comedian, throws jabs at Trump almost every day – but one day, the president apparently had enough.
Pappas was blocked on June 3, 2017 after replying to a Trump tweet about the travel ban.
“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety,” Trump wrote.
“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”
– @Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
“Trump is right. The government should protect the people. That’s why the courts are protecting us from him,” Pappas replied.
He was then blocked.
“It’s crazy,” Pappas told his former employed The Salt Lake Tribune after the May 23 ruling. “It’s not something that I ever thought would happen in my life. And it wasn’t something I pursued. They reached out to me.”
The comic said there was “so much winning” on May 23 and then continued to post about the president on Twitter.
“We sued the President and won.
So much winning. https://twitter.com/knightcolumbia/status/999332006453497858 …”
– @Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness)
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: The Associated Press
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Inset Image: AP Photo/File