Hogan Gidley, the former national press secretary for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, claimed Sunday on Fox News that the president is unable to speak out more against the Capitol insurrection because he no longer has access to social media.
“The media are trying to have it both ways,” said Gidley. “On the one hand, [the media says] he should be censored by Big Tech and not be allowed to talk. He also shouldn’t say anything because it’s divisive. And then when he doesn’t say anything and can’t say anything because the platforms have removed him, they say, ‘Where’s the president? Why aren’t we hearing from him?’”
The president was banned from his preferred mode of communication, Twitter, and other social media platforms after he incited a deadly riot on Jan. 6, following a monthslong disinformation campaign asserting that the election was stolen from him.
Trump still has access to the White House briefing room. He can release statements to the press. He can go on national television, as can his current and former spokespeople.
Earlier in the interview, Gidley had defended Trump’s response to the riots, claiming that Trump “called it out in real-time beforehand.” In fact, Trump urged his supporters to march to the Capitol and to “fight like hell” to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. When the crowd chanted “Fight for Trump,” the president said “thank you.”
After the mob stormed the Capitol, Trump told them to be peaceful and go home before adding, “We love you, you’re very special,” and, “I know how you feel.”
His press secretary condemned the violence in a terse briefing the following day. A week later, after he was impeached for the second time in his presidency, Trump released a video statement in which he “unequivocally” condemned the violence.
Gidley’s comments on Sunday were met with astonishment from critics online.
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