President Trump spent a portion of his Thanksgiving holiday lashing out at his enemies, this time by accusing Twitter of fabricating its trending topics – as social media users ridiculed him by posting with the hashtag #DiaperDon.
The president retweeted and wrote a total of 14 tweets on Thursday, including several just hours after he grew visibly angry with a Reuters reporter during a question-and-answer session at the White House.
Trump was busy on Twitter retweeting his favorite commentators who falsely suggested there’s still a chance he can overturn the results of the election while venting his frustration at the media, Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, kneeling NFL players, and Fox News.
He lamented that Fox News has not been the same since the departure of its late CEO Roger Ailes while also calling for the repeal of Section 230, a part of a law that shields internet companies from liability for the content that its users post.
When he wasn’t tweeting, Trump held a news conference during which he scolded White House correspondent Jeff Mason, who asked the president if he would concede the election if the Electoral College voted to officially make Joe Biden the winner on December 14.
‘I’m the President of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the president that way,’ Trump told Mason during the heated exchange.
‘You’re just a lightweight,’ an angry Trump told Mason.
President Trump on Thursday blasted Twitter, accusing it of manipulating its trending topics so as to make him look bad
‘Twitter is sending out totally false “Trends” that have absolutely nothing to do with what is really trending in the world,’ the president tweeted on Thursday. ‘They make it up, and only negative “stuff”’
Twitter users relentlessly mocked the president for the small desk from which he spoke during his White House news conference. The sight of Trump sitting at the desk prompted Twitter users to trend the topic ‘Resolute Desk’ – the much larger desk where the president sits in the Oval Office. Another trending topic on Twitter was the hashtag #DiaperDon, a reaction to an image of the president sitting at his smaller desk
The president appeared grumpy earlier in the day on Thursday, when he was caught on camera using foul language after he flubbed a golf shot while playing at his course in Sterling, Virginia.
‘I hate this f*****g hole!’ Trump said after he chipped a ball wide of the hole.
The president on Thursday night repeated past grievances about the November 3 election which he lost to President-elect Joe Biden. He also took aim once again at Twitter, claiming that it was conspiring to make him look bad.
Trump posted a tweet linking to an opinion column written by a blogger with The Federalist, a pro-Trump, conservative-leaning news site.
The opinion piece listed ‘five more ways Joe Biden magically outperformed election norms.’
It suggested that that Biden’s win was fraudulent since it defied several metrics that have historically been used to gauge who would win a presidential election.
‘A must read. Impossible for Biden to have overcome these, and even greater, odds!’ Trump tweeted when linking the article.
The president then posted another tweet complaining about media coverage of his Thanksgiving Day message to US troops stationed abroad.
‘I gave a long news conference today after wishing the military a Happy Thanksgiving, & realized once again that the Fake News Media coordinates so that the real message of such a conference never gets out,’ the president tweeted.
‘Primary point made was that the 2020 Election was RIGGED, and that I WON!’
Trump spoke to reporters in the White House’s ornate Diplomatic Reception Room after holding a teleconference with US military leaders stationed across the globe.
He thanked them for their service and jokingly warned them not to eat too much turkey, then turned to the election after ending the call.
Trump repeated grievances and angrily denounced officials in Georgia and Pennsylvania, two key swing states that helped give Biden the win.
The president on Thursday spoke to reporters from a small desk in the Diplomatic Reception Room after holding a teleconference with US military leaders
Trump was widely ridiculed on Twitter as social media users mocked the size of the desk that he was photographed sitting at during his Thursday news conference
The relatively small size of the desk led to the hashtag #DiaperDon becoming a trending topic
One Twitter user wondered whether Joe Biden’s aides ‘set up this visual’
‘This mini resolute desk will never not make laugh,’ tweeted one Twitter user. ‘Resolute Desk’ was also trending on Twitter late on Thursday, drawing Trump’s ire
‘Moved from the Resolute Desk to the Coffee Table of Despair,’ tweeted another Twitter user
The president then got into his heated exchange with Mason, which generated significant attention on social media as well as in the press.
Trump then took aim at Twitter after the social media site’s trending topics painted the president in an unfavorable light.
‘Twitter is sending out totally false “Trends” that have absolutely nothing to do with what is really trending in the world,’ the president tweeted on Thursday.
‘They make it up, and only negative “stuff”.
‘Same thing will happen to Twitter as is happening to Fox News daytime.
‘Also, big Conservative discrimination!’
Twitter users relentlessly mocked the president for the small desk from which he spoke during his White House news conference.
The sight of Trump sitting at the desk prompted Twitter users to trend the topic ‘Resolute Desk’ – the much larger desk where the president sits in the Oval Office.
Another trending topic on Twitter was the hashtag #DiaperDon, a reaction to an image of the president sitting at his smaller desk.
The president then tweeted: ‘For purposes of National Security, Section 230 must be immediately terminated!!!’
Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act protects internet companies from liability for the material users post on their networks.
‘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,’ the law states.
Trump has long accused social media networks of being biased against conservatives and Republicans.
Trump posted a tweet linking to an opinion column written by a blogger with The Federalist, a pro-Trump, conservative-leaning news site. The opinion piece listed ‘five more ways Joe Biden magically outperformed election norms.’ It suggested that that Biden’s win was fraudulent since it defied several metrics that have historically been used to gauge who would win a presidential election
The president then tweeted: ‘For purposes of National Security, Section 230 must be immediately terminated!!!’ Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act protects internet companies from liability for the material users post on their networks
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.
Since the November 3 election, Twitter has been more aggressively labeling Trump’s tweets with warnings about its accuracy as the president has made numerous claims about alleged voter fraud.
Trump and his attorneys have yet to substantiate allegations of widespread voter fraud that he claims cost him the election.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump praised a Pennsylvania judge who placed a hold on the certification process for down-ballot races in the Keystone State.
‘A brilliant woman of courage!’ the president tweeted on Thursday. He was reacting to a tweet posted by David J. Harris Jr, a conservative commentator who linked to a news story on his web site about the case.
Harris’ headline read: ‘Judge Blocks Certification of Pennsylvania Election Results.’
But the headline and the article incorrectly suggest that the decision by Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia A. McCullough will have any impact on the presidential race.
The state has already certified the results of the presidential election, with Democrat Joe Biden winning its 20 electoral college votes.
Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, sent a ‘certificate of ascertainment’ to the national archivist in Washington with the slate of electors who support President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Pennsylvania’s 20 electors, a mix of elected Democrats, party activists and other staunch Biden backers, will meet in the state Capitol on December 14.
McCullough’s ruling on Wednesday temporarily blocks the portion of the election that had yet to be certified – namely the state legislature results. A majority of the legislature is controlled by Republicans.
The president on Thursday also retweeted a post from Harris which links to an article about the ‘voter fraud hearing’ led by Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis.
Since the election, Twitter has flagged Trump’s tweets which contained claims of voter fraud and other improprieties
Facebook has also posted warnings on Trump’s posts with the same message
Trump also retweeted another post by Harris, this one claiming that ‘AOC is in panic mode!’
The post was linked to a news story about a lawsuit filed by pro-Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, who are suing Georgia because of an ‘unlawful election.’
Biden won Georgia’s 16 electoral college votes, defeating Trump by slightly more than 12,000 votes.
The link to the news story on Harris’ site alleges that AOC is ‘in trouble,’ though the basis for that claim is unclear.
Trump also reacted negatively to a news story about the two quarterbacks of the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions, the NFL teams who faced off against each other in the Thanksgiving game on Thursday.
The Texans’ Deshaun Watson and the Lions’ Matthew Stafford were seen kneeling on their respective sidelines during the national anthem just before kickoff at Ford Field in Detroit. The Texans won the game 41-25.
Trump has been a vocal critic of professional athletes who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice. He demanded that NFL owners fire players who do so after the Colin Kaepernick controversy.
Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback, ignited a fierce, nationwide debate in 2015 and 2016 by kneeling on the sidelines during the Star Spangled Banner.
President Trump spent his Thanksgiving holiday playing golf and then tweeting about the election. He is seen above at his golf course in Sterling, Virginia, on Thursday
The president agreed with a tweet by conservative commentator David J Harris Jr, who said that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was ‘in panic mode!’
The president took to Twitter to praise a Pennsylvania judge as a ‘brilliant woman of courage’ for delaying the certification of down-ballot races in the Keyston State – though it appears he is under the mistaken impression that it will affect the outcome of the election that he lost to Joe Biden
Earlier on Thursday, Trump kicked off his Thanksgiving with a round of golf at his Trump National Golf Club in Virginia and a lot of whining on Twitter, insisting there was no way Biden won the ‘rigged’ election and slamming Fox News.
Trump left the White House Thursday morning for 18 holes at his golf club in Sterling, Virginia.
But before and after his game, his focus was on the presidential election – which he still insists he won – instead of the holiday.
‘Just saw the vote tabulations. There is NO WAY Biden got 80,000,000 votes!!! This was a 100% RIGGED ELECTION,’ Trump complained about his Democratic rival.
Twitter flagged the tweet, noting on it: ‘This claim about election fraud is disputed.’
The president has refused to concede the election even as his legal cases challenging the results in battleground states have gone nowhere, his campaign has turned up no evidence of major voter fraud, and states have begun to certify Biden’s victory.
The current tally of the popular votes stand at: 80,045,066 (51%) for Biden and 73,897,658 (47%) for Trump. Additionally, Biden has 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.
The 2020 contest saw a record number of votes. Biden was the first candidate to earn over 80 million.
Trump also got in a dig at Fox News. The news organization infuriated him by being the first on election night to call Arizona for Biden.
The president retweeted a tweet on the network seeing declining ratings and added his own commentary: ‘Will go down much further. Weekend daytime even worse, dead. They still don’t get it. Fantastic alternatives! The late/great Roger Ailes is seriously missed, but I still won LEGAL VOTES by a lot!!!’
Ailes, who was ousted from Fox News in 2016 over charges of sexual harassment, advised Trump on the presidential debates that year. He died in 2017 and some credit him for Trump’s rise in politics.
And Trump retweeted a tweet about a lawsuit Sidney Powell, the attorney dumped from his legal team, brought about in Georgia.
And he complained about Pennsylvania, where his legal team is trying to stop certification of the state’s 20 electoral votes for Biden: ‘A total FRAUD. Statehouse Republicans, proud, strong and honest, will never let this travesty stand!’
Trump on Thursday also retweeted a post from Harris whose web site includes a news story about a lawsuit filed in Georgia by two pro-Trump attorneys – Sidney Powell and Lin Wood
The president also retweeted a post by Harris linking to a news story about the ‘voter fraud hearing’ in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, led by Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis
Trump also reacted negatively to a news story about the Texans’ Deshaun Watson and the Lions’ Matthew Stafford who were seen kneeling on their respective sidelines during the national anthem just before kickoff at Ford Field in Detroit. The Texans won the game 41-25
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney who is leading the charge in trying to overturn the election, testified at a Republican-led hearing of sorts on Wednesday, which Trump called into to implore GOP officials in the state to find he won Pennsylvania.
‘This election has to be turned around. We won Pennsylvania by a lot and we won all of these swing states by a lot,’ Trump said via a cellphone his attorney Jenna Ellis held up to a microphone.
‘We got 11 million votes more than we had four years ago in 2016. And we got many more votes than Ronald Reagan had when he won 49 states,’ Trump said, pointing to an election forty years ago when the population was considerably smaller.
Trump did receive 73 million votes – the most ever of an incumbent president. But Biden won over 80 million votes and the electoral college, which hands him the White House.
The Trump team has shown no evidence of voter fraud in Pennsylvania or any other state.
Trump had switched into holiday mode earlier in the day, writing ‘HAPPY THANKSGIVING’ atop a retweet from the SCOTUS blog, which covers Supreme Court cases. It reported that: ‘Just before midnight on the night before Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court blocked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo from enforcing attendance limits at religious services. The vote is 5-4, with Roberts and the three liberals dissenting.’
The Supreme Court late Wednesday temporarily barred New York from enforcing attendance limits at houses of worship in areas designated as hard hit by the coronavirus.
The court’s 5-4 vote granted requests made by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish congregations who were fighting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s October 6 decision about houses of worship in areas designated red and orange zones, where attendance was capped at 10 and 25 people, respectively.
President Trump tosses a golf ball from his cart as he plays golf at his club in Virginia
President Donald Trump kicked off his Thanksgiving with a round of golf at his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia
President Trump drives a golf cart on his course near Washington D.C.
President Trump gives a fist bump to a fellow golfer
President Donald Trump holds his phone as he stands next to a golf cart on his course
President Trump in his golf cart with security in golf carts around him
President Trump wore one of his signature red ‘Make America Great Again’ caps when he played golf on Thanksgiving
New Justice Amy Coney Barrett ruled in the majority whereas the court’s three liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented.
In two previous cases this year, the court on 5-4 votes turned away similar requests by churches in Nevada and California. Those votes occurred before the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The president had Thanksgiving dinner with his immediate family.
‘The First Family will be celebrating the day with immediate family for dinner at the White House. The President and First Lady wish everyone across the country a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving,’ said Stephanie Grisham, the chief of staff to first lady Melania Trump, in a statement.
She did not detail who was included in the immediate family, which could consist of the president’s adult children from his first marriages and the first lady’s parents, who live near the White House.
In his Thanksgiving proclamation, President Trump encouraged Americans to gather and give thanks.
‘I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings,’ he said in a statement.
Trump’s urging Americans to gather for the holiday comes as daily deaths from COVID-19 in the United States have surpassed 2,100 for the first since May as millions of Americans continue to ignore CDC travel guidance and dire warnings from health experts that Thanksgiving could be the ‘mother of all superspreader events’.
President Trump is expected to make the traditional call to members of the U.S. armed forces serving overseas. That call was scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday but got moved back to 5 p.m. It is closed to the media and public.
Don Jr., the president’s oldest son who tested positive for coronavirus a couple of weeks ago, posted a message to Instagram he is ‘done with Rona’ and will spend Thanksgiving with family.
President Trump returns to the White House after a round of golf on Thanksgiving – both before and after the game he tweeted on the election
President Trump checks his phone while on the golf course
President Trump, in red jacket, driving his golf cart on his golf course
President Trump takes aim as he plays golf on Thanksgiving day
President Trump on his golf course
President Trump walks back to his golf cart
Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump passes them outside the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia
President Trump’s motorcade arrives at his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va, on Thanksgiving Day
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are spending Thanksgiving at the White House instead of traveling to Mar-a-Lago, where they’ll have dinner with immediate family
Don Jr., the president’s oldest son who tested positive for coronavirus a couple of weeks ago, posted a message to Instagram he is ‘done with Rona’ and will spend Thanksgiving with family
Lara Trump posted a photo of a roadtrip to an undisclosed location with husband Eric Trump and their kids
He videotaped the message on Wednesday with girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, noting the couple will be eating their ‘back up meal’ that day and then enjoying a second Thanksgiving feast.
‘I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to be cleared to be with my family but I got the medical OK I’m all done with the Rona,’ he noted.
‘I got cleared and we get to spend Thanksgiving the way it’s meant to be,’ he said in the video message.
And Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, posted a photo to Instagram of her, husband Eric Trump and their two kids taking a road trip to an unnamed location.
The president is also reaching out to friends who could be having a tough time over the holidays.
Eric Bolling, the Sinclair TV host whose son died of an accidental drug overdose in 2017, tweeted that Trump called him on Thanksgiving Day.
‘3 years ago today: A difficult first holiday without my Eric Chase.. the empty Thanksgiving seat being too real having just lost our son. The phone rang: ‘Eric, Melania and I want to tell you how much we feel for you today’ That call just came again. Thank you @realDonaldTrump,’ he wrote.
Last year on Thanksgiving, Trump made a surprise visit Afghanistan where he met with President Ashraf Ghani and served Thanksgiving dinner to U.S. troops stationed there.