52

To quote John Gruber's commentary, related to the recent appeals court ruling whereby Trump cannot block people on Twitter:

With the absurd number of replies he gets with each tweet — thousands, if not tens of thousands — I can’t see why he even bothers blocking people. But I like to think he’s actually sitting there, wasting time each day poking buttons in the Twitter app, angrily blocking people.

Is there documented evidence that Trump has actually been taking the time to actively block people on Twitter since he is President of the United States?

If so, is there any evidence that suggests that is Trump doing so personally or, on the contrary, that this is being done by aides?


Edit: To address the concern that got raised about notability:

Gruber's site is popular enough that there's a term to describe what happens when his readers throw traffic at a site (fireballed). Moreover, anyone who has watched US evening shows (Colbert, Noah, Oliver, Bee, Meyers, etc.) with some regularity will be keenly aware that the hosts mostly take it for granted, if only as a meme, that Trump's "executive time" is about playing golf and Twitter. And the claim is also notable to those who follow more weeds-y sources that discuss the machinations that go on in DC and the court system.

  • 12
    It's funny to think about, but I don't think Mr. Gruber is claiming that Mr. Trump is actually blocking people on Twitter. Furthermore, because of how blocking people on social media sites function, the only person who would be able to prove this either way are Mr. Trump (which, unless he admits it, we're unlikely to find out) or Twitter (who won't admit either way). – DenisS Jul 9 at 23:33
  • 4
    Regarding notability: I notice that the plaintiffs involve in the case appear to claim that Trump has been personally blocking them; in that piece, they use phrases like "President Trump blocked me" and "the President blocked me", suggesting that they believe he did it personally. I'm not sure if that's a generous interpretation, though. Another prominent user claimed outright that the President blocked her personally. – HDE 226868 Jul 10 at 1:39
  • 8
    Is this genuinely in dispute? – Robert Harvey Jul 10 at 15:08
  • 6
    (2/2) regardless, @HDE226868 posted an answer where DoJ attorneys testified that DT does in fact block people personally, so I think this matter is pretty clearly resolved. – DenisS Jul 10 at 15:22
  • 4
    Reminder to all the visitors from the Hot Network Questions: Sorry, we don't care about your political opinions. Please don't post political comments for or against Trump here. – Oddthinking Jul 11 at 10:59
109

It appears that Trump is indeed personally responsible for blocking his critics on Twitter, as opposed to a staffer or aide. This came up in oral arguments this past March concerning the continuing suit brought against Trump by several people who had been blocked by the president. Insider.com reports that the disclosure came from a attorney for the Department of Justice:

[W]hile making the case for Trump during oral arguments before a three-judge panel, Justice Department attorney Jennifer Utrecht disclosed that the president — on his own — is wholly responsible for blocking users with the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account.

. . .

Katie Fallow, a senior staff attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute, told INSIDER that the involved plaintiffs have expressed shock that the president personally went out of his way to block them.

While the government's attorney acknowledged in yesterday's arguments that the president does operate his Twitter as an official account, she said that he blocks people as a private person and on his own personal whim.

The phrase "on his own personal whim" could, incidentally, imply that not only does Trump block people personally, he does not even consult staffers as to the best course of action, let alone leave matters to them to handle.

Here's a transcript of those oral arguments:

Question: Sorry, when you say the President, I want to say - is the President himself actually entering the blogs? That is stipulated that Donald Trump himself is the person who blocked - not anybody working for him?

Response: That's correct, your honor.

  • 5
    I doubt we should really trust what Trump's lawyers say. (Or ANY lawyers, of course :-() From news reports (re the census citizenship question), they are capable of claiming one thing in one court hearing, and exactly the opposite in another. – jamesqf Jul 10 at 16:51
  • 12
    @jamesqf Government lawyers defending the census citizenship case hasn't lied yet. Several lawyers have asked the judge to remove them from the case and a couple did manage to do so (one by quitting his job another by getting himself transferred to another department) specifically because they do not want to lie in court - which is cause for disbarment (and basically ending their careers) or refuse to follow Trump's orders (which can also be a career-ending move). The judge's refusal to do so is in part to get the lawyers to say in court that they were ordered basically lie – slebetman Jul 11 at 0:43
  • 1
    @slebetman: I think it's less "they do not want to lie in court" and more "they do not want to contradict their previous claims in court". Those previous claims were apparently inaccurate, and while the term "lied" implies judgments about the lawyers' intentions, I think jamesqf is right to suggest that we can't assume their claims to be accurate. Is there any reason to believe that Jennifer Utrecht really knows whether Trump blocks people himself, vs. whether that's just what she's been told? – ruakh Jul 13 at 0:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .