Former President Donald Trump on Thursday rolled out a plan that he said would “shatter the leftwing censorship machine” and reclaim the First Amendment guarantee of free speech for all Americans.
In the first policy-related announcement of his 2024 presidential campaign, Mr. Trump vowed to sign an executive order after being elected that would ban the federal government from “colluding” with groups that impede free speech and ban federal taxpayer dollars from being spent on government-led efforts to label speech as misinformation or disinformation.
He promised to fire federal employees who have tried to censor “lawful speech” and block federal funds from going to universities that wrongfully curtail speech. He also reiterated his support for curtailing the legal immunity protections for big tech platforms under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.
“If we don’t have free speech then we just don’t have a free country. It is as simple as that,” the 76-year-old said in the video announcement. “If this most fundamental right is allowed to perish, then the rest of our rights and liberties will topple just like dominoes. One by one they will go down.”
Earlier this month, Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, began revealing the left-wing bent of the social media giant that led to the censorship of conservative viewpoints, the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop computer story just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, and the chaotic decision to permanently ban then-President Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The Twitter Files have also revealed the extent to which the platform worked with the Biden campaign and federal agencies to moderate speech including regular meetings between platform executives and officials from the FBI, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Department of Homeland Security.
“In recent weeks bombshell reports have confirmed that a sinister group of deep state bureaucrats, silicon valley tyrants, left-wing activities, and depraved corporate news media have been conspiring to manipulate and silence the American people,” Mr. Trump said.
“They have collaborated to suppress vital information on everything from elections to public health,” he said. “The censorship cartel must be dismantled and destroyed and it must happen immediately.”