Donald Trump released a video message to his radical extremist followers on Wednesday that was basically the deescalation video equivalent of a celebrity apology: It only made things worse.
“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt,” Trump said in the video posted on social media amid a mob attempt at a coup inside the United States Capitol on Wednesday. “We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it especially the other side, but you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect for great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time. There has never been at time like this where such a thing happened where they can take it away from all of us. From me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace, so go home. We love you, you’re very special. You’ve seen what happens, you see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel, but go home and go home in peace.”
Television journalists searching for some semblance of leadership appreciated Trump telling his followers to go home, but noted that he also egged them on in the same breath. Any appearance of wanting to keep the peace was later thrown out the window when Trump tweeted, “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Now, both the video and that latest tweet have been removed from Twitter and Facebook’s “VP of integrity” (on a slower news day we’d spend some time with that title...) has announced that Facebook has removed the video as well: “This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”
UPDATE, January 6 @ 6:15 p.m. CT: Twitter has suspended Donald Trump’s twitter account. “As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,” reads the first of a series of tweets from the Twitter Safety account. “This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.... Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account...Our public interest policy — which has guided our enforcement action in this area for years — ends where we believe the risk of harm is higher and/or more severe.... We’ll continue to evaluate the situation in real time, including examining activity on the ground and statements made off Twitter. We will keep the public informed, including if further escalation in our enforcement approach is necessary.”
“DELETE HIS ACCOUNT” began trending on Twitter, a sentiment shared in part by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. “12 hours is not sufficient,” he tweeted. “He is a danger to our democracy and should be banned from @twitter for the next 14 days”
UPDATE, January 7 @ 1:20 p.m. CT: In a statement provided to NBC News, Mark Zuckerberg announced Trump is now blocked from using Facebook and Instagram. “The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” reads his statement. “His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the U.S. and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect — and likely their intent — would be to provoke further violence.”
This news comes the same day Shopify and Twitch announce they’ve banned Trump as well. Where you at, LinkedIn?