Trump Jr.'s Twitter account suspended for sharing misleading video
Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter account has been suspended after he shared a video which included misleading and false claims about the coronavirus pandemic, his spokesperson confirmed to CBS News.
President Trump also shared the video — which has since been taken down by Twitter, Facebook and YouTube — but his account was not suspended. Twitter’s policy says that it assesses world leaders’ reported tweets and examines them in accordance with Twitter rules.
Trump Jr. frequently shares posts on Twitter and other social media which support his father and denigrate opponents.
The video alleged that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had “suppressed” the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus. Mr. Trump has touted the drug as a treatment for coronavirus, even though the Food and Drug Administration determined in June that the drug is “unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19 for the authorized uses.”
The doctor quoted in the video, Stella Immanuel, claimed that wearing a mask is unnecessary, contradicting widely accepted medical advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also claimed, without evidence, that there is a “cure for COVID.”
Andy Surabian, spokesman for Trump Jr., said in a statement, “It is beyond the pale for Twitter to silence someone for sharing the views of medical professionals who happen to dissent with their anti-Hydroxychloroquine narrative.”
Surabian said that Twitter’s suspension of Trump Jr. from the platform for sharing the video “is further proof that Big Tech is intent on killing free expression online and is another instance of them committing election interference to stifle Republican voices.”
President Trump’s retweet of the video on Monday evening was among his retweets of a number of other posts defending the use of hydroxychloroquine and criticizing Fauci. Twitter removed several of Mr. Trump’s tweets regarding the coronavirus.
“Tweets with the video are in violation of our COVID-19 misinformation policy,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
Fauci said in an interview on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” on Tuesday morning that he has “not been misleading the American public under any circumstances.”
Although Mr. Trump’s tone on the virus appeared to shift in recent days as he has encouraged Americans to wear masks and socially distance, his spree of tweets on Monday evening indicate that he is still willing to promote theories contrary to the consensus of medical experts.
There are over 4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., and more than 141,000 Americans have died from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, the world’s largest coronavirus vaccine study is now underway with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the U.S. government — one of several candidates in the final stretch of the global vaccine race.
Nicole Sganga contributed to this report.