Permanently un-tweeted ex-president Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to force Twitter to reinstate his account, marking yet another legal volley in the former president’s quest to regain his major social-media accounts after they were taken offline in the aftermath of the Capitol riot. In a complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida on Friday night, Trump’s attorneys sought a preliminary injunction against Twitter and the company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, arguing that the private firm’s decision to ban Trump from its social-media platform violated both his First Amendment rights and a new Florida social-media law (which a federal judge blocked in July before it could go into effect).
Friday’s complaint came two months after Trump filed some legally dubious class-action lawsuits against Twitter, Facebook, Google, and the companies’ executives, and less than two weeks after Trump’s lawyers suggested in another lawsuit that the experience of using Twitter was so mind-altering and addictive that it had rendered the former president incapable of accepting the company’s terms of service. The injunction Trump’s legal team requested on Friday would temporarily allow him to tweet again while his other lawsuit against the company proceeds. (“This won’t work,” former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Elie Honig tweeted Saturday in response to news of the lawsuit.)
Among a litany of claims in the new complaint, Trump’s attorneys argued that Twitter had been “coerced by members of the United States Congress” into “censoring” him and alleged that the company unfairly “exercises a degree of power and control over political discourse in this country that is immeasurable, historically unprecedented, and profoundly dangerous to open democratic debate.”
In March, Trump insisted during an interview on Fox News that Twitter had become “very boring” in his absence and claimed he preferred sending out press releases to tweeting, anyway. Though the Trump Team repeatedly said that the former president would introduce his own revolutionary social-media platform, what they launched instead in May was a sad, simple, Twitter-esque blog on Trump’s website. The blog, From the Desk of Donald J. Trump, barely lasted a month after it apparently attracted more ridicule than readers.
As that abandoned endeavor and Trump’s ongoing efforts to make Twitter take him back reveal, the former president clearly believes there’s no substitute for the @realDonaldTrump thing.