President Trump on Thursday vowed that he ‘won’t forget’ how Republicans ‘sit back and watch’ as he tries unsuccessfully to overturn the election, and lashed out at social media giant Twitter for flagging his claims of voter fraud as untrue.
The president singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who drew Trump’s ire earlier this month when he officially recognized President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of last month’s presidential election.
‘I saved at least 8 Republican Senators, including Mitch, from losing in the last Rigged (for President) Election,’ Trump tweeted on Thursday.
‘Now they (almost all) sit back and watch me fight against a crooked and vicious foe, the Radical Left Democrats.
‘I will NEVER FORGET!’
The president has taken credit for McConnell’s victory in the Senate race from Kentucky as well as other contests which the GOP won, enabling the party to prevent a ‘blue wave’ that would have flipped control of Congress to the Democrats.
Key Senate races that polls indicated could be close or perhaps be won by the Democrats were instead kept in the GOP column, including those of Senators Susan Collins of Maine; Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
The Democrats could still control 50 Senate seats if they win both runoff elections for the two Senate seats from Georgia on January 5 – with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris potentially serving as a tie-breaking vote in a deadlocked chamber.
Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that Trump ordered his political aides to monitor Republican incumbents who are up for re-election in 2022.
President Trump is seen left playing golf at his golf course in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday. The president posted a series of tweets on Thursday raging at Twitter and Senate Republicans for not doing more to help him overturn the results of last month’s election
‘I saved at least 8 Republican Senators, including Mitch, from losing in the last Rigged (for President) Election,’ Trump tweeted on Thursday. ‘Now they (almost all) sit back and watch me fight against a crooked and vicious foe, the Radical Left Democrats. I will NEVER FORGET!’
In the previous tweet, the president took aim at the platform that has been his primary tool in amplifying his message. ‘Twitter is going wild with their flags, trying hard to suppress even the truth,’ the president tweeted on Thursday. ‘Just shows how dangerous they are, purposely stifling free speech’
Earlier on Thursday, Trump posted an all-caps message which read: ‘VOTER FRAUD IS NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORY, IT IS A FACT!!!’
According to Politico, Trump is eager to get his revenge on Republican senators, governors, and other legislators who have not enthusiastically supported his allegations that the elections were tainted by widespread voter fraud.
One target of Trump’s wrath is Senate Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota, who earlier this week said that a longshot attempt by the president’s allies to challenge the electoral college vote in Congress ‘would go down like a shot dog’ in the Senate.
Trump is reportedly eager to sabotage the re-election chances of Thune, as welll as those of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Kemp certified the results of the presidential election in his state, which Biden narrowly won.
Murkowski, a moderate Republican, has been critical of Trump in the past. The president has indicated that he plans to support her opponent in the Republican primary in Alaska.
Trump (left) singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (seen right), saying that he deserved credit for helping him win his race in Kentucky
Trump claimed that he held a ‘meeting in Florida’ on Thursday where he was asked why Republicans, including GOP U.S. senators, weren’t ‘fighting over the fact that the Democrats stole the rigged presidential election’
Twitter attached a warning sign to the president’s tweet which read: ‘This claim about election fraud is disputed.’
In the previous tweet, the president took aim at the platform that has been his primary tool in amplifying his message.
‘Twitter is going wild with their flags, trying hard to suppress even the truth,’ the president tweeted on Thursday.
‘Just shows how dangerous they are, purposely stifling free speech.
‘Very dangerous for our Country.
‘Does Congress know that this is how Communism starts?
‘Cancel Culture at its worst. End Section 230!’
Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act protects companies that host trillions of messages from being sued into oblivion by anyone who feels wronged by something someone else has posted – whether their complaint is legitimate or not.
Trump, who has alleged that Twitter and other tech companies like Facebook and Google have an anti-conservative bias, has called for repealing Section 230.
Trump is reportedly mapping out a plan to support primary challengers to key Republicans who are up for re-election in 2022, including Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (left) and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska (right)
Earlier on Thursday, Trump posted an all-caps message which read: ‘VOTER FRAUD IS NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORY, IT IS A FACT!!!’
Constitutional scholars say that the president has exhausted all options to overturn his election loss, which he has not publicly acknowledged.
Earlier on Thursday, a federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a decision dismissing a lawsuit seeking to declare Trump won swing state Wisconsin.
Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump by 0.6 points in Wisconsin in the November 3 election, a key victory that helped propel Biden to the White House.
Trump filed the lawsuit in the Eastern District of Wisconsin on December 2 against the state elections commission, arguing the court should order the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to declare he had won the state.
US District Judge Brett Ludwig, a Trump appointee, refused, ruling on December 12 that Trump’s arguments ‘fail as a matter of law and fact.’
He said that ruling in Trump’s favor would amount to the ‘most remarkable ruling in the history of this court or the federal judiciary.’
Trump then turned to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
A three-judge panel from that court affirmed Ludwig’s decision late Thursday afternoon, finding that Trump should have challenged the state’s election laws before the election.
All three judges were appointed by Republican presidents. One of them, Michael Scudder, was appointed by Trump.
‘Allowing the President to raise his arguments, at this late date, after Wisconsin has tallied the votes and certified the election outcome, would impose unquestionable harm on the defendants, and the State’s voters,’ Scudder wrote.
Trump and his allies have suffered dozens of defeats in Wisconsin and across the country in lawsuits that rely on unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud and election abuse.
One new ad that Trump debuted on his Twitter account Thursday morning, boasted about the 74 million votes he received and then made false claims about widespread voter fraud. President-elect Joe Biden won 81 million votes
A map in the ad shows a number of states that went blue for Biden – Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona – marked in light red, as if Trump won them in a ‘landslide victory’
Vice President Mike Pence will have to preside over the January 6 Congressional meeting where lawmakers have the opportunity to object to Electoral College vote counts, but the votes in Congress don’t exist for those counts to be overturned
At around the time of the federal appeals court ruling, Trump raged at members of the Republican Party for refusing to overturn the presidential election’s result in a Christmas Eve tweet.
‘At a meeting in Florida today, everyone was asking why aren’t the Republicans up in arms & fighting over the fact that the Democrats stole the rigged presidential election?’ he wrote Thursday afternoon. ‘Especially in the Senate, they said, where you helped 8 Senators win their races. How quickly they forget!’
The president had no meetings on his Christmas Eve schedule, but he did leave his Mar-a-Lago resort to play a round of golf at his nearby Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.
The White House did not release the names of his golf partners.
Before he went golfing, Trump was tweeting new videos that falsely claimed widespread election fraud.
A campaign spokesman told DailyMail.com that the campaign will be spending more than $5 million for those ads to air through the night of Januaruy 5, the day before Congress meets to finalize the Electoral College count.
The ads are running nationally on on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Newsmax and One America News Network, with more specific asks geared to voters Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Radio ads with a similar message are also part of the ad buy.
SECTION 230: THE LAW AT CENTER OF BIG TECH SHOWDOWN
Twenty-six words tucked into a 1996 law overhauling telecommunications have allowed companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google to grow into the giants they are today.
Under the U.S. law, internet companies are generally exempt from liability for the material users post on their networks. Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act – itself part of a broader telecom law – provides a legal ‘safe harbor’ for internet companies.
But Republicans increasingly argue that Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms have abused that protection and should lose their immunity – or at least have to earn it by satisfying requirements set by the government.
Section 230 probably can’t be easily dismantled. But if it was, the internet as we know it might cease to exist.
Just what is Section 230?
If a news site falsely calls you a swindler, you can sue the publisher for libel. But if someone posts that on Facebook, you can’t sue the company – just the person who posted it.
That’s thanks to Section 230, which states that ‘no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.’
That legal phrase shields companies that can host trillions of messages from being sued into oblivion by anyone who feels wronged by something someone else has posted – whether their complaint is legitimate or not.
Section 230 also allows social platforms to moderate their services by removing posts that, for instance, are obscene or violate the services’ own standards, so long as they are acting in ‘good faith.’
Where did Section 230 come from?
The measure’s history dates back to the 1950s, when bookstore owners were being held liable for selling books containing ‘obscenity,’ which is not protected by the First Amendment. One case eventually made it to the Supreme Court, which held that it created a ‘chilling effect’ to hold someone liable for someone else´s content.
That meant plaintiffs had to prove that bookstore owners knew they were selling obscene books, said Jeff Kosseff, the author of ‘The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet,’ a book about Section 230.
Fast-forward a few decades to when the commercial internet was taking off with services like CompuServe and Prodigy. Both offered online forums, but CompuServe chose not to moderate its, while Prodigy, seeking a family-friendly image, did.
CompuServe was sued over that, and the case was dismissed. Prodigy, however, got in trouble. The judge in their case ruled that ‘they exercised editorial control – so you’re more like a newspaper than a newsstand,’ Kosseff said.
That didn’t sit well with politicians, who worried that outcome would discourage newly forming internet companies from moderating at all. And Section 230 was born.
‘Today it protects both from liability for user posts as well as liability for any clams for moderating content,’ Kosseff said.
What happens if Section 230 is limited or goes away?
‘I don´t think any of the social media companies would exist in their current forms without Section 230,’ Kosseff said. ‘They have based their business models on being large platforms for user content.’
There are two possible outcomes. Platforms might get more cautious, as Craigslist did following the 2018 passage of a sex-trafficking law that carved out an exception to Section 230 for material that ‘promotes or facilitates prostitution.’ Craigslist quickly removed its ‘personals’ section altogether, which wasn’t intended to facilitate sex work. But the company didn´t want to take any chances.
This outcome could actually hurt none other than the president himself, who routinely attacks private figures, entertains conspiracy theories and accuses others of crimes.
‘If platforms were not immune under the law, then they would not risk the legal liability that could come with hosting Donald Trump´s lies, defamation, and threats,’ said Kate Ruane, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Another possibility: Facebook, Twitter and other platforms could abandon moderation altogether and let the lower common denominator prevail.
Such unmonitored services could easily end up dominated by trolls, like 8chan, which is infamous for graphic and extremist content, said Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman. Undoing Section 230 would be an ‘an existential threat to the internet,’ he said.
In an ad entitled, ‘Stop the Steal,’ which Trump featured on his Twitter account early Thursday, the spot says that, ‘America rewarded President Trump with over 74 million votes.’
President-elect Joe Biden won more than 81 million votes – and beat Trump in the Electoral College 306 to 232.
‘Millions more than Obama and both Clintons. More votes than any president. More votes from African-Americans, Latinos and Jewish Americans than any Republican in decades,’ it continued.
‘President Trump won Ohio, Florida and 95 per cent of bellwether counties. But something happened,’ it said.
The ad then calls out states that ‘rushed out mail-in ballots’ calling that a ‘recipe for fraud.’
It falsely claims that ‘Biden ballots [were] added in the middle of the night.’
It also shows footage of Biden bungling a talking point about his campaign’s efforts to combat voter suppression.
Biden said that he had the ‘most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in …history.’
The ad also includes a map where several states that went blue for Biden – Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia and Michigan – are marked in red.
‘It’s an outrage,’ the Trump campaign ad said. ‘The American people deserve to know the truth.’
In ads targeted specifically at states, supporters are asked to call figures like Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, who already certified the state’s results.
A Wisconsin radio ad includes a number that dials the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
Neither of these entities have the power to overturn the Electoral College, which already voted in Biden’s favor on December 14, giving him the expected 306 votes.
Since the campaign, Facebook and Twitter have been attaching warnings labels to Trump’s posts which contain unverified claims of voter fraud
Trump, however, is looking to Vice President Mike Pence, who will have to preside over the January 6 Congressional session in which the Electoral College tallies are formalized.
Pence was facing additional pressure Wednesday after right-wing fringe websites misled Trump supporters by saying that the vice president could play the so-called ‘Pence Card,’ claiming that U.S. code says the vice president must accept or reject the election result on the third Wednesday of December.
That date, this year, is December 23, which went by with no such action from Pence because the vice president doesn’t have that power.
Pence is, however, supposed to chair the January 6 meeting in the House of Representatives when the Electoral College tally is formalized.
At this meeting, if a House member is joined by a senator, they can hold up the proceedings by contesting the count in certain states.
The House and Senate then meet in their respective chambers and debate the objection, with a simple majority needed to overrule the complaint.
McConnell has asked Republican senators not to engage in this effort – which is already being backed by several GOP House members – because it will put his caucus in a tough spot.
There won’t be enough votes in the Senate to toss out any of the states’ results, so McConnell would prefer Republican senators to not have to pick sides between Trump and the legitimate election result.
At the end of proceedings, Pence will have to announce Biden as the winner.
This, according to Axios, has Trump riled up, as the president considers Pence fulfilling his Constitutional duty as the ‘ultimate betrayal,’ as the newsite put it.
Axios also reported that Trump was rattled by a Lincoln Project ad that says, ‘When Mike Pence is running away from you, you know it’s over.’
‘The end is coming Donald. Even Mike Pence knows. He’s walking away from your trainwreck. From your desperate lies and clown lawyers,’ the spot says.
On Tuesday, however, Pence told a crowd of young conservatives at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit that the fight was ongoing.
‘As our election contest continues, I’ll make you a promise, we’re going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted. We’re going to keep fighting until every illegal vote is thrown out,’ Pence said.
But Pence then mentioned Georgia – where Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are on the ballot in a January 5 run-off race – suggesting the comments could be about that contest and not the presidential race.
Pence could also abandon his responsibility and not chair the January 6 Congressional meeting.
The last person to do that was Vice President Hubert Humphrey in 1969.
He was the Democratic nominee and had been defeated by Republican Richard Nixon.
Humphrey was overseas at the time attending the funeral of Trygve Lie, the United Nations’ first secretary general.