America's panhandler in chief, Donald Trump, just proved beyond all doubt that he has no idea what is in the Constitution he took an oath to defend.
Trump today sent me and millions of others a text begging for money to finance federal lawsuits filed in Florida against Facebook, Google, Twitter and their chief executive officers for "UNCONSTITUTIONAL CENSORSHIP."
Trump is, at least for now, banned from their platforms for breaking their rules.
Had Trump ever read the First Amendment, he would know it applies to the government, not businesses. "Congress shall make no law" is the opening line. The amendment is only 45 words, so it shouldn't challenge even Trump's poor reading comprehension skills.
As interpreted by our Supreme Court, our Constitution prohibits only the government from censoring speech. Even that is not absolute.
Our Constitution says nothing about businesses turning away people because they violate company policies. Facebook, Google and Twitter have policies that people consent to when they click those "I agree to the terms of service" buttons to get access. On a simplistic level think of restaurants with this sign on the door: No Shoes No Shirt No Service.
Trump has in the past said he would get Congress to pass laws so that no one could write or say things about him he doesn't like. That went nowhere, but it did show his Kim Jong-Un dictatorial thinking.
While Trump didn't use any North Korean firing squads to silence critics, he spent four years laying siege to the First Amendment and to the government being accountable to the people
Donald believes he should be president and that we should overturn the will of the people who rejected him out by a margin of seven million votes in favor of Joe Biden, who got more than 51% of the vote.
There are advocates for expanding the First Amendment to include businesses – many of them funded by the Koch Brothers and other super-wealthy business owners. They want to shrink our government to weaken its power to protect us, leaving them even more free to profit from polluting, paying workers less, and shifting the burden of taxes onto you. Charles Koch and his brother David, who died in 2019, sent a letter in 2012 basically instructing their more than 100,000 employees to vote for Mitt Romney. It had no legal effect. Since voting is secret, it didn't stop votes for Barack Obama, either. But the intent is clear: surrender your liberty to billionaire business owners.
Koch Brothers Ideas
Here is an excellent example of the idea that the First Amendment should apply to businesses. It comes from a Koch-funded ideological marketing organization.
The text I got today from the former president asking for a donation didn't link to any lawsuit. The people he deceives probably wouldn't read it if he did.
What's going on here is yet another Trump scheme to cajole supporters into giving him money.
Trump's misconduct has reduced him to pleading from alms, a pitch that works on the gullible and ill-informed. No wonder Donald, using the royal "we," often says, "we love the poorly educated." His schemes deceive the poorly educated with ease, helping him drain their pockets so he can keep his flailing Trump Organization afloat.
For sure, Trump needs lots of cash to pay lawyers as law enforcement finally closes in on him after decades of his successes in outmaneuvering police and prosecutors.
Two things you can count on from Trump's latest plea for alms:
One, it will raise money.
Two, the CEOs of Facebook, Google parent Alphabet, and Twitter — Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jack Dorsey – won't lose a wink of sleep over this. Indeed, their companies likely can get a court to order making Trump pay their legal costs to have the cases dismissed as frivolous.