Trump erupts at Twitter for suspending Pennsylvania Republican after baseless voter fraud hearing

Alex Woodward
·3-min read
Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano speaks at a public hearing on Donald Trump’s baseless allegations of voter fraud on 25 November. (EPA)
Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano speaks at a public hearing on Donald Trump’s baseless allegations of voter fraud on 25 November. (EPA)

Donald Trump has raged at Twitter after the platform suspended a personal account belonging to a Pennsylvania state senator who presided over a conspiracy-filled “hearing” among GOP lawmakers to amplify false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

The president – in a series of posts tagging One America News Network, which was suspended from YouTube this week for promoting a false Covid-19 “cure” amid its wall-to-wall far-right content – said state Senator Doug Mastriano was “banned” after the platform and “fake news, working together" sought to “SILENCE THE TRUTH.”

Among several posts flagged by the platform on the morning after Thanksgiving. the president said: "Can’t let that happen. This is what Communist countries do!”

On his other account, state Senator Mastriano called his suspension “censorship.”

“The point of Twitter suspending this personal account is to prevent me from posting to my Senate account – to silence our voice,” he claimed.

Mr Trump appeared to be posting his reactions to stories airing on OAN on Friday morning, including a story in which the cable news network had claimed that “Big Tech has continued to show bias towards Republicans and GOP lawmakers” by suspending the state senator’s account.

Late on Thanksgiving night, as the hashtag #DiaperDon was trending on Twitter, the president demanded that “for purposes of National Security, Section 230 must be immediately terminated!!!”

The policy as part of the federal Communications Decency Act allows social media platforms to determine their moderation policies, shielding services from being held liable for user-generated content.

Watch: Judge dismisses Trump lawsuit in Pennsylvania

On Wednesday, the president phoned into a GOP-led hearing on allegations of voter fraud in Pennsylvania, where his attorney Rudy Giuliani has sought to undermine the results by persuading courts to reject ballots in a battleground state that the president carried in 2016. His loss in the state in 2020 effectively cost him the election, with 20 electoral college votes sealing a win for Joe Biden.

In recent weeks, the president has turned to sycophantic coverage on OAN and other conservative networks, like Newsmax, after reportedly enraged by disloyalty at Fox News following its declaration of president-elect Biden’s win in Arizona and subsequent victory in the 2020 race; in recent days, hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have effectively recognised Mr Biden’s victory. A growing number of Republican elected officials have also urged the president to move forward with the transition.

Despite his public accusations of voter fraud and claims that the election was “rigged” against him, he has instructed the federal agency responsible for the transition to a Biden-governed White House to begin the process. He has not conceded.

OAN, meanwhile, was suspended from posting to YouTube, where it has more than 1 million subscribers, and prohibited from monetising its views, after the self-described pro-Trump network violated the platform’s policy about Covid-19 mis- and disinformation.

The network and its right-wing allies have attempted to lend credibility to claims of voter fraud from the president and his legal team, despite spurious lawsuits rejected by several courts and Republican election officials.

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