Day 1,223: How is it possible that a POTUS doesn’t understand the First Amendment?

In terms of knowledge necessary to be President of the United States, having at least a passing understand of the U.S. Constitution should be a prerequisite. It is by far the most important and powerful document in the U.S. and the country has been shaped by it for more than two centuries.

Many Republicans like to tout themselves as constitutionalists, protecting the document at all costs. And yet, Donald Trump, their party’s standard bearer, has never seemed to understand any of it and has showed no willingness to learn. Just a week ago Trump threatened states’ funding despite lacking such power under the Tenth Amendment.

Tuesday was worse. Trump again humiliated himself and the office by displaying zero understanding of the First Amendment. Trump was angry that Twitter has decided to start fact-checking some of his recklessly false tweets. Trump claimed that such actions were an infringement on his free speech and he “will not allow it to happen!”

But the free speech guaranteed in the First Amendment only protects individuals from being silenced by the government:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Nowhere in the First Amendment or otherwise does the Constitution protect anyone, including a president, from being fact-checked by a person or corporation. The same way a department store can ask their customers to refrain from screaming obscenities in their stores and stadiums can remove unruly fans, so too can Twitter enact policies to police behaviors in their digital space.

If Trump doesn’t want to use Twitter, he doesn’t have to. Similarly, if Twitter doesn’t want to allow Trump to use it, they can boot him anytime they want. There are no freedom of speech considerations anywhere in the discussion.

Laughably (and irrelevantly), Trump isn’t even being censored. Nothing is being stifled. He’s still shouting into the void dozens of times per day and he’ll continue doing so since he has no intention of putting in an honest day’s work. He just prefers to do it unchallenged, which is also a reason his team has chosen to block scores of Twitter users. (Disclosure: Trump has blocked TrumpTimer on Twitter.)

The Republican “constitutionalists” — as they were during Trump’s previous tirades—remain hypocritically silent.

1,223 days in, 239 to go

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