Twitter said Daines, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, infringed its rules by uploading a photo to his profile that included “graphic violence or adult content.” The image shows the Montana senator and his wife posing with what appears to be a dead animal.
A spokesperson for the NRSC described the move as “insane” and called on Twitter to “immediately reverse this suspension.”
Several of Daines’ GOP colleagues also criticized the decision on Twitter, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz:
Ridiculous. My friend @SteveDaines is in @Twitter jail for posting this pic w/ his wife Cindy.
If you don’t like hunting, fine, don’t go. But don’t censor others who disagree.
And I’m pretty sure this is a formal job responsibility for a senator from Montana!#FreeSteveDainespic.twitter.com/t6VdYNYe5u
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 7, 2023
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) called on new Twitter CEO Elon Musk to reverse Daines’ suspension.
“It looks like you need to hire some new people and fire some bad employees who are trying to undermine you. I know this isn’t the kind of Twitter you want,” Lee wrote in a post directed at Musk.
Musk responded later by saying that Twitter’s media policy is being fixed.
Conservatives have celebrated Musk’s rocky purchase of Twitter last year, welcoming his vows to uphold “free speech” on the platform. Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter has reactivated the accounts of many far-right extremists it previously banned over language inciting violence, including former President Donald Trump.
The suspension may not be all bad news for Daines, however. Other Republican lawmakers who have gotten into similar trouble with Twitter’s rules have used the opportunity to raise funds. As head of the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, Daines is likely to do the same.