Trump, impeachment and ban on social media

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US President Donald Trump wears a protective face mask during a tour of the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies' Innovation Center, a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant where components for a potential coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate are being developed, in Morrisville on Monday. (REUTERS Photo)

Views and opinions from the top commentators in Indian media 

“Beginning February last year Trump has unbendingly stuck to the line that Covid will simply go away and beginning November he has continuously claimed election victory. Such wild falsehoods put him in a league of his own, especially if he believes them too. As Mitt Romney has said, what happened in the US Capitol on January 6 was horrifyingly an insurrection incited by the president of the United States himself.

His exit will in itself bring a degree of healing. But many of the 73 million who voted for him will remain vulnerable to a shadow presidency or a 2024 candidacy. As Lee argues, the goal is to change the circumstances that led to their faulty beliefs. The social media cancellations which have already diluted his influence on the news cycle, indicate that muting his delusional narratives to grab back reality is certainly possible. But either through a Senate impeachment conviction during his presidency or criminal prosecution afterwards, he must be held to account. To protect Truth, begin there.”

Editorial, The Times of India 

“Trump has arguably been inciting violence on social media platforms for a long time. In mid-2020, Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout in distress over the company refusing to regulate the US President’s inflammatory posts. In the past, Twitter suspended another account posting copies of Trump’s tweets for glorifying violence, while leaving the president’s tweets up. This was presumably because of Twitter’s exception for public or elected officials’ speech which is seen as being in “public interest”. Facebook also has a “newsworthiness” exception. These exceptions pose a continuing problem for other countries that are still led by individuals who incite violence.

The question to ask is: What happens the next time a world leader incites violence on these platforms? Facebook might leave their speech up, since it has left itself room to do so. Twitter might take it down, but it is not clear what counts as enough incitement for an elected official’s account to be suspended.”

Chinmayi Arun, The Indian Express 

“When a big fella falls flat on the face, the other small, big and middling fellas cannot help but feel secretly thrilled. Last Wednesday’s hurly burly at the United States’ Capitol Hill by Donald Trump supporters even as the Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s victory, did not so much elicit shock and horror as it did a smug satisfaction. In the global arena, this extended way beyond Bully Trump. In the global arena, this was actually about the self-righteous, sanctimonious, global busybody Uncle Sam taking a tumble.   

China did not mince its words. The foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, harked back to the US reaction at the time of the Hong Kong protests of 2019. Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill demonstrations “a beautiful sight to behold” and remarked that Chinese President Xi Jinping had been “really taking China backward in terms of repression”. 

Upala Sen, The Telegraph 

“Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the American Presidential election of 2020 was thus propagated not as a repudiation of the democratic process but of an elite conspiracy to rob the ‘real’ people of their ownership of the nation. The slogan that Trump gave as the culminating dog-whistle – ‘let us take back our country’ – was thus not to be seen as a seditious calling, but an invocation to a return to a lost authenticity of possession, one notified by the Confederate flags that were in evidence at the site of the violent insurrection on Capitol Hill. That an Indian tricolor was also carried by some insurrectionists, of course, carries food for thought for Indian citizens who may be as anxious about the new turn of events  here as there. One is left to imagine that such a display may, after all, have issued from the slogan ‘Ab ki baar Trump sarkar’.

Badri Raina, The Wire

“Trump was impeached on Wednesday for specific actions he took from Nov. 3 through Jan. 6, and because many members of Congress fear that he is a danger to the nation. But Trump had also given himself no room for error. He built no relationships with any Democrats, and relatively few with Republicans. Yes, many Republicans were willing to tolerate him in exchange for his fealty to most orthodox conservative policy goals, and because of the electoral danger of a divided party if they did not go along. Others, following the strategy honed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of tearing down institutions, seem to have supported him precisely because he was an agent of disruption, chaos and destruction. But a serious working relationship with anyone? Even Nixon had those.”

Jonathan Bernstein, The Print

Every week, we look at what the top commentators in the Indian media are talking about and bring to you a slice of their opinions and comments 

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