Freedom of speech is a tremendously beautiful thing to President Donald Trump, apparently so long as it only applies to those who would support and promote his person and his agenda.
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait noted that if this was not already clear, Trump made it abundantly so during a discussion over “free speech” online at the White House on Thursday.
The president has repeatedly railed against online platform giants Twitter, Facebook and Google for what he perceives as bias against conservative voices — though he has never provided hard evidence that such voices are being quelled.
Lack of evidence notwithstanding, Trump is moving forward to solve the alleged problem, saying, “I’m directing my administration to explore all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free speech rights of all Americans.”
In giving the president and other conservatives a somewhat charitable read, Chait noted the hypothetical case could be made that online bigwigs have so monopolized the internet that challenging their reach is all but impossible — leaving those against whom the bias is directed no recourse in the “marketplace of ideas.”
Even here, there is no concrete evidence — only conspiracies and unsupported charges — that social media companies are indeed squeezing out conservative users.
But this hypothetical is unnecessary to consider at present, because Trump consistently makes clear what he means when he says there is bias against him and other Republicans.
He did it again on Thursdays: “To me free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad. To me that’s very dangerous speech, and you become angry at it. But that’s not free speech.”
And conservatives — the supposed stalwarts of defending freedom — sit idly by while the president would trample the freedom of his detractors in an effort to boost his own ego and bask in the light of his supporters’ praise.