Donald Trump has asked a federal judge in Florida to force social media giant Twitter to restore his account, which the company suspended in January following the attack that month on the US Capitol in Washington DC.
Trump’s use of the platform was a signature mark of his run for the presidency in 2016 and one he continued to use in office. He wielded it to attack enemies and dominate news cycles.
His tweets often inspired ridicule and anger but also posted content that was racist and dangerously provocative on anything from immigration to the origins of the coronavirus to urging people to resist Democratic governors.
Trump’s attorneys on Friday filed a motion in US district court in Miami seeking a preliminary injunction against Twitter and its CEO, Jack Dorsey. They argue that Twitter is censoring Trump in violation of his First Amendment rights, according to the motion.
Twitter permanently banned Trump from its platform days after his followers violently stormed the Capitol building to try to block Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential win. Twitter cited concerns that Trump would incite further unrest. In a day of shocking violence Trump supporters invaded the Capitol and in the turmoil scores of people were injured and five died.
Prior to the ban, Trump had roughly 89 million followers on Twitter.
Trump was also suspended from Facebook and Google’s YouTube over similar concerns that he would provoke violence. Facebook’s ban will last two years, until 7 January 2023, after which the company will review his suspension. YouTube’s ban is indefinite.
In July, Trump filed lawsuits in the US district court for the southern district of Florida against all three tech companies and their CEOs, claiming that he and other conservatives have been wrongfully censored. The motion for a preliminary injunction was filed as part of Trump’s case against Twitter.