Opinion: Trump Is More Upset Over Being Fact-Checked Than 100,000 Dead Americans
In the face of a serious crisis, President Donald Trump took immediate and decisive action this week: He declared war on social media companies, complete with an executive order, after Twitter slapped a pair of his tweets with fact-check warnings on Tuesday.
Unlike his administration’s abysmal response to the coronavirus crisis, which has now claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Americans, Trump promised to deal swiftly with the threat of social media companies alerting the world to his lies and misinformation.
"Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016," the president proclaimed on Wednesday, before going on to repeat his unfounded claim that mail-in voting would be “a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots.”
The very same day that Trump ranted against social media giants, the U.S. surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths — a fact the president failed to acknowledge until the following day, in a tweet that many Twitter users suggested was written by one of his staff.
Trump’s quick response to being called out on his lies is telling, particularly as the country continues its battle against COVID-19 — a battle the president was slow to enter and remains incompetent in fighting.
While The New York Times published coronavirus victims’ names as the country’s death toll neared 100,000 in a piece titled “An Incalculable Loss,” the only name of concern to the president was “Donald J. Trump.”
Over the last week, Trump has tweeted relentlessly about himself, conspiracy theories, attacks on his political rivals, attacks against the press, and now social media companies. It is doubtful he could utter a single coronavirus victim’s name, let alone appreciate the gravity and loss of 100,000 Americans dead from the disease.
Instead, Trump chooses to busy himself with the important business of ensuring that never again can a social media company fact-check his claims or limit the reach of his misinformation.
CBS News reported Thursday that “The White House is preparing an executive order that could take aim at the legal shield that social media companies enjoy for content posted by users on their platforms.”
While the order is still in draft form, it reportedly “would allow regulators to claim internet companies are censoring free speech when they delete users' posts or accounts.”
Trump hinted at the move in a Thursday morning tweet — one hour before he thought to address the COVID death toll milestone — writing that “This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!"
Meanwhile, the nation continues to wait for the day that its own wellbeing, needs, hopes and fears will mean a fraction as much to the President of the United States as the status of his precious tweets.