Donald Trump has been permanently banned from Twitter, with the social media platform claiming his posts are “highly likely” to inspire violent acts.
The tech giant confirmed late on Friday that it had permanently suspended @realDonaldTrump, the personal account that the President of the United States has maintained since 2009.
The move comes two days after the platform served President Trump with a 12-hour ban after the storming of the US Capitol by his supporters, which he had initially failed to condemn.
Twitter previously made clear it would not revoke Mr Trump’s ability to tweet while he holds the office of president, despite breaches of the platform’s rules with untrue claims of voter fraud.
However, 12 days before the lame duck leader’s removal from power, Twitter confirmed Mr Trump has been suspended permanently for breaking rules on glorifying violence.
Inauguration attack fears
Twitter cited a message from Mr Trump confirming he would not be attending Joe Biden’s inauguration, and another which read: “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
A blog post from Twitter suggested that the two messages could encourage Mr Trump’s supporters to attempt an attack on the inauguration, which is scheduled for 20 January in Washington DC.
Twitter said: “Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regards to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on 6 January, 2021, these two tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behaviour from this account in recent weeks.
“After assessing the language in these tweets against our glorification of violence policy, we have determined that these tweets are in violation of the glorification of violence policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service.
“We assessed the two tweets referenced above under our glorification of violence policy, which aims to prevent the glorification of violence that could inspire others to replicate violent acts and determined that they were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the US Capitol.”
Twitter added: “As such, our determination is that the two tweets above are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on 6 January, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.”
Mr Trump amassed a large Twitter following long before his run for office. Since becoming President, he has used the platform to vent at foes and allies alike, to announce firings of those deemed disloyal, and on some occasions to announce policy decisions before even his own staff were informed.
Mr Biden’s inauguration on 20 January, already a scaled-back affair due to the threat of coronavirus, is likely to have a strong security presence amid fears of a repeat of scenes at the Capitol.
Presidential inaugurations are traditionally a lavish occasion, attended by senior figures from all sides of politics as a new president is sworn in. Mr Trump will be the first living president in 150 years not to attend to attend the inauguration of their immediate successor.
President on a warpath
Mr Trump’s conduct during and after the storming of the US Capitol has sparked alarm even among his staunchest defenders.
A number of high-profile Trump officials have resigned to protest the leader’s failure to warn off supporters during the attack, which led to five deaths including one police officer.
So far, education secretary Betsy DeVos, transportation secretary Elaine Chao, deputy White House press secretary Sarah Matthews and Melania Trump’s chief of staff Stephanie Grisham are among the figures to have quit.
Fearful that Mr Trump is on a warpath ahead of his exit from office, other figures have called for vice president Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows for the removal of a sitting president where they are deemed unable to carry out their duties.
However, Business Insider reports that Mr Pence is not willing to back the move.
Democrats seek to oust leader early
Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers have said they plan to put forward impeachment charges against Mr Trump for a second time next week.
The president was previously impeached by the House of Representatives in 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, but was able to remain in office as he was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Though Democrats will shortly gain a slim majority in the Senate, an effort to remove him would need a two-thirds majority, requiring support from at least 17 of the 50 Republican senators.
Impeachment procedures typically take weeks and involve lengthy hearings. Though Democrats are hopeful of expediting the process, it is unclear whether the measure could be pushed through in time to hasten Mr Trump’s departure before 20 January.