As former President Donald Trump makes plans to run for president a third time, his lawyers are taking steps to sue social media sites that have banned him over his incendiary speech.
According to three sources that spoke to The Washington Post, Trump reportedly wanted to announce a 2024 presidential run during the upheaval in Afghanistan, following the withdrawal of the United States military there in August. His aides talked him out of doing so, saying that he should be patient with a presidential announcement, as entering the race now would trigger several federal election rules — including limiting his ability to raise funds and providing equal time standards on broadcast television to his likely opponent, incumbent President Joe Biden.
Advisers were also apprehensive about Trump announcing a run ahead of the 2022 midterm races, believing that Democrats could try to tie Republican candidates to the former president, making the race a referendum on their ties to him rather than other issues. If Republicans failed to win either house of Congress, it would also reflect poorly on Trump, his advisers warned.
“The biggest point we drove home was that he doesn’t want to own the midterms if we don’t win back the House or Senate,” one of the sources told The Washington Post.
According to recent polling from Quinnipiac University, most Americans are already opposed to a Trump presidential run in 2024.
Trump’s aides added that offering his support to other Republicans during the midterms would be more beneficial if he wasn’t yet declared a candidate.
Whether Trump announces a run now or after November of next year, self-promotion will prove a challenge, given that he’s still banned on several social media sites. On Friday, Trump’s lawyers sought to have his access to the site restored by filing a lawsuit against Twitter.
The lawsuit claims that his First Amendment speech rights are being violated because of the ban, which was imposed on the former president after a mob of his loyalists attacked the Capitol on January 6. The attacks immediately followed an incendiary speech Trump gave that day against the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Twitter justified the ban by saying they were concerned his tweets — which contained numerous false allegations of fraud in the 2020 race — would incite additional acts of violence from his followers.
Trump’s lawsuit contends that Twitter is being “coerced by members of the United States Congress” and “acting directly with federal officials” to continue the indefinite ban on the former president. It also claims that Twitter is “operating under an unconstitutional immunity” to keep him off the platform.
It’s unclear how Trump’s First Amendment rights are being violated, however. That provision within the Constitution stipulates that no law shall be established by the government that restricts speech — but Twitter, being a private company, is allowed to create rules that users must abide by, and to enforce those rules by banning users that violate them.
CNN legal analyst Elie Honig was brief in his assessment of Trump’s lawsuit against Twitter.
“This won’t work,” Honig tweeted, adding no additional commentary to the issue.
Harvard Law school professor Laurence Tribe, a frequent critic of the former president, was more direct in his opinion on the lawsuit’s chances.
“Trump’s lawsuit to force Twitter to let him back on its platform is garbage. Pure BS,” Tribe said. “A pile of crap. Frivolous. An abuse of the judicial system. Zero merit. Got it?”