Twitter suspended the official account of the Trump campaign on Thursday, saying Team Trump’s tweet calling Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden a “liar” and posting a video about Hunter Biden’s business dealings is a violation of its policy.
The action comes just 19 days before Election Day.
“Your account has been locked,” the standard Twitter message read. “What happened? We have determined that this account violated the Twitter Rules. Specifically, for: Violating our rules against posting private information.”
“You may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission,” the post reads.
The Trump campaign tweet in question read: “Joe Biden is a liar who has been ripping off our country for years.”
The campaign also posted a link to a video about Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings, specifically referring to the New York Post, which published emails suggesting Hunter Biden introduced his father, then the vice president, to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2015 at Hunter Biden's request. Fox News has not independently verified the reporting.
The emails turned up in the hard drive of a laptop dropped off at a repair shop in 2019, the Post reported, adding that a copy of the hard drive ended up in the hands of Robert Costello, a lawyer for Rudy Giuliani, a personal attorney for President Trump.
However, a Trump campaign official pointed out that the campaign’s video that it posted is still visible on Trump’s own Twitter account.
"This is election interference, plain and simple. For Twitter to lock the main account of the campaign of the President of the United States is a breathtaking level of political meddling and nothing short of an attempt to rig the election," Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told Fox News. "Joe Biden’s Silicon Valley pals are aggressively blocking negative news stories about their guy and preventing voters from accessing important information. This is like something from communist China or Cuba, not the United States of America.”
“This is chilling censorship of a sitting President’s re-election campaign 19 days from an election, plain and simple,” Andrew Clark, Trump campaign rapid response director, added. “Twitter is interfering in the election and trying to stop the public from learning damning information about the Biden family’s corruption at all cost, but our campaign and our supporters will not be silenced.”
The Trump campaign has posted the entire New York Post article on its campaign website in an effort to sidestep the social media suppression.
Twitter said Wednesday the New York Post article was in violation of its "hacked materials policy."
The company's 2018 policy prohibits the distribution of content "obtained without authorization." Twitter doesn't want to incentivize hacking or circulating "possibly illegally obtained materials."
"Commentary on or discussion about hacked materials, such as articles that cover them but do not include or link to the materials themselves, aren’t a violation of this policy," Twitter said. "Our policy only covers links to or images of hacked material themselves."
Twitter noted that once users remove the tweet in violation, their account will be unlocked and they can continue tweeting.
"Accounts that Tweet the materials or links to the materials referenced here may be required to delete those Tweets based on our policies on hacked materials and private and personal information," a Twitter spokesperson said Thursday.
Twitter also blocked White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany for sharing the New York Post report on Hunter Biden on her personal account.
The Trump campaign shared what appears to be a screenshot of an email McEnany received from Twitter, alerting her that her account "has been locked."
"We have determined that this account violated the Twitter Rules. Specifically, for: Violating our rules against distribution of hacked material," the email read.
McEnany's tweet that was flagged by the tech giant read, "**NEW** Email from Ukrainian executive to Hunter Biden asks Hunter to 'use his influence' on behalf of the firm paying him $50K/mo in email with subject 'urgent issue' obtained by @nypost Father @JoeBiden was in charge of Ukraine relations at time.!!”
"Twitter has locked the personal account of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany for sharing news Democrats don’t like," the Trump War Room tweeted on Wednesday evening.
McEnany fired back at Twitter from her official government account.
"Censorship should be condemned! cc: @Twitter & Facebook NOT the American way!!" McEnany tweeted from her @PressSec handle.